Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Book Review - The Olive Branch by Jo Thomas

Amazon UK

Title:  The Olive Branch
Author: Jo Thomas
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Headline Review
Publication Date: 2nd July 2015
Rating: 5 Stars


You can buy almost anything online these days. For Ruthie Collins, it was an Italian farmhouse.

Yet as she battles with a territorial goat and torrential rain just to get through the door of her new Italian home, the words of Ed, her ex, are ringing in her ears. She is daft, impetuous and irresponsible.

But Ruthie is determined to turn things around and live the dream.

First, though, she must win over her fiery neighbour, Marco Bellanouvo, and his tempestuous family...and then there's the small matter of running an olive farm. As the seasons change and new roots are put down, olives and romance might just flourish in the warmth of the Mediterranean sun.

When Ruthie Collins buys an Italian farmhouse on Ebay, her ex partner and her mother think she has gone mad. When Ruthie arrives, having paid for it, having never seen it in person, she starts to doubt herself. And when she discovers that it was sold by a now dead man, without telling any of his family, Marco Bellanouvo definitely has a few words to say to her. 

From a chance encounter with a guard goat, to the Bellanouvo family who are all around the small town in Puglia, Ruthie has to try to make the most of her impetuous decision. Her Italian evening class Italian doesn't even work well in Puglia, as they have their own dialect, so she struggles to communicate, while needing to renovate a farmhouse, and see if running an olive farm is the correct thing for her to do, or if she should go back to England. 

This book is a great mix of a women's fiction story, as well as the sort of story I love reading about in travel writing, of someone starting from scratch in a new country, with very little clue as to the reality, but having to learn fast. 

You learn quite a lot about olives, olive oil and olive farming during the story,  and it all seemed very well researched. There are some scenes where Marco and Ruthie are tasting olive oil, and the the descriptions were making me feel like I was tasting it too. 

I loved The Olive Branch, it was an interesting and enjoyable story, with a fabulous cast of characters, and it was set in Italy. I love Italy in books, and this Italy is no exception, the food descriptions are sublime, and I could do with a dose of warmer weather right about now.  

If you haven't encountered a book by Jo Thomas before, then please take a look at either The Olive Branch, or The Oyster Catcher, as they are both fabulous.

Thank you so much to Headline and Netgalley for my copy of this book. This was my honest review. 

The Olive Branch is out now in ebook, and out on 2nd July 2015, in paperback. 

Monday, 29 June 2015

Book Review - Greedily Yours - Episode 1: Taste Test by Emma Hamilton

Amazon UK
Title: Greedily Yours - Episode 1: Taste Test
Author: Emma Hamilton
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley 
Publisher: Bastei Entertainment
Publication Date: 15th June 2015
Rating: 4 Stars


Mia Maxwell loves food. She loves it so much that she's made it her career. On the surface Mia seems to have it all. She lives in trendy east London with her best friend, Lizzie, who owns a cupcake cafe. By day she runs her own food PR consultancy, and by night she's a food blogger with a burgeoning audience. Mia has a banker boyfriend, Paul, who enjoys travelling the world, enabling her to taste the globe's culinary delights. But Mia is still hungry and, when she heads down to Cornwall to run a food festival, she doesn't realise that her entire life is about to be cast adrift. 

Episode 1 - Mia Maxwell knows that her love of food is tied to her healthy appetite for romance. She's admitted as much on her food blog, "Culinary Confessions of a Greedy Girl." But could a chance encounter with a fellow foodie in Cornwall really entice her to question her own romantic relationship? 

As a book blogger I really should read the descriptions more carefully on Netgalley before pressing request! It wasn't until I had received this book, that I twigged it was Episode 1 of an 8 part serialisation of a novel. Generally I would prefer to read the whole book in one go, and not in many different parts. 

However I did find that I enjoyed the Taste Test episode. I thought it started off fairly slow, but I was definitely starting to have a properly level of immersion and enthralment that means I was a bit gutted when the episode finished and I didn't have any more pages to find out what happened next (until I buy the next one and its released!)

Mia Maxwell is an excellent food blogger, her blog posts are equally amusing and informative, and her overall attitude to food is quite refreshing. She likes to eat, and loves talking about food too. Luckily her best friend runs an delicious sounding cupcake business, and Mia regularly helps her friend with menu descriptions, and taste testing. 

Mia has a high flying boyfriend of 4 years, but she doesn't seem completely satisfied by him or even happy with him. It seems as though they are stuck in a bit of a rut, although it may take a few more episodes for Mia to do anything about it.

Greedily Yours - Taste Test is a good start to the serial and does exactly what it is designed to do, and made me very interested in the rest of the book, as I would like to know what happens to Mia next. And for those that love seeing recipes in books, there are a few at the back, that featured in the story. 

Thank you to Bastei Entertainment and Netgalley for my review copy of this book. This was my honest review.

Guest Post - It's Like Riding A Bike by Ali Chrisp

‘Don’t worry, it’s like riding a bike!’ goes the well-known saying which means that once you’ve learnt how to do something, it becomes second nature and you’ll never forget it. Well, in my case, I should be very worried because I seem to be the exception to the rule and have indeed forgotten how to ride a bike!

After envying my husband and son for going off on their bike rides through the countryside, I decided that it was high time I bought myself a mountain bike so I could at least cycle to a few local pubs (you have to get your priorities right!) I chose a well-known make and wasn’t concerned that I couldn’t try it out before buying it. 

When we brought it home I wheeled my lovely pink bike into the quiet lane near to our house; I couldn’t foresee any problems but didn’t want to draw any attention to myself. Satisfied that the coast was clear, I prepared to hop onto my bike and cycle into the distance just like Bradley Wiggins.  How mistaken I was! First of all, I insisted that the saddle needed lowering - I could reach the ground with the tips of my toes but that wasn’t low enough for me. My husband declared that my legs wouldn’t be extended enough to cycle properly but that was the least of my problems - I couldn’t even get enough momentum to be able to sit on the saddle and pedal. After several failed attempts, I had to suffer the humiliation of my husband holding the saddle and pushing me along just as my dad would have done when I was six. 

To add insult to injury, my son decided to come outside and video the spectacle. This spurred me on to cycle the length of the lane albeit in a very wobbly manner. There! I thought.  I can remember how to ride a bike, but then I changed my mind when I tried to turn the corner and fell off.

‘I think that’s enough for one day,’ I declared, sheepishly wheeling my bike back into the shed.
The next morning, my son ‘helpfully’ got my bike out for me and took it round to the front of the house.  

When as many neighbours as possible had gone out, I decided to give it another go and managed to go up the road unaided with my son chaperoning me on his own bike and shouting words of encouragement.  I suppose it was a bit like mentoring a younger sibling in his eyes. I got to the stage of riding in a straight line again but when it came to turning around at the bottom of the cul-de-sac, I could only steer in one direction, otherwise I toppled over.

I really can’t understand why my sense of balance has disappeared.  When I was in my teens, I used to cycle everywhere on my Raleigh Shopper (also pink), including the six mile round trip to school every day. The main difference, however, was that the wheels were much smaller and I only had three gears to choose from. Anyway, the long and short of it is that this will be the fourth year that I haven’t ridden my bike outside the cul-de-sac and I don’t think I even bothered last year.  

Perhaps this year …

About Ali Chrisp
Ali Chrisp’s career has included teaching aerobics in the early 1980s (often demonstrating death-defying lunges and squats on a dangerously wobbly trestle table!), working as a sales negotiator in a local estate agent, then spending twenty-three years as a civil servant. For the last five and a half years she has been working part-time as a personal assistant to a lady with Alzheimer’s. Ali is a real animal lover and the proud owner of Lola, a bonkers, mud-loving Labradoodle, and Winnie, a feisty rescue cat. She lives with her husband and their semi-feral teenage son who lurks in a dark corner of the house. He is mainly nocturnal, coming out to forage when the house is quiet and leaving a trail of destruction behind him. She wouldn’t change him for the world though.

www.alichrisp.co.uk
www.twitter.com/alichrispauthor

About Home Comforts

A laugh-out-loud comedy about families, friendship and romance. The perfect feel-good summer holiday read.

Jo Longford's life takes an unexpected turn when her bosses wrongly accuse her of stealing from a client. Suddenly, she needs to find a new job and a new home for herself and ten-year-old son, Tom. Not to mention their small menagerie of badly behaved pets.

Her selfish mum isn't much help; obsessed with keeping up appearances, nothing her daughter does is ever good enough for her. But at least Jo can rely on best friend Val for support. They've been getting themselves into mischief since they were teenagers, and that includes an eventful school reunion and joining a cringeworthy dating agency. Some things never change!

Life certainly doesn’t get any easier for Jo. Will she be able to fend off her sex-mad landlord – a retired businessman who struts around in Lycra and thinks he’s God’s gift to women? Are her new employer and quirky clients at the Handy Jobs Domiciliary Care Agency all they seem?

And will Jo ever be able to sort out her chaotic love life when two equally unsuitable men gatecrash her world?

Home Comforts is a heart-warming tale with a cheeky twinkle in its eye.
www.amazon.co.uk/Home-Comforts-Ali-Chrisp-ebook/dp/B00Y8CT8M2/

Thank you to Ali Chrisp for this lovely guest post. I've personally not forgotten how to ride a bike, but I never learnt in the first place, so could imagine these would be the sort of scenes I would encounter if I tried it now! Thank you also to Ian at Corazon Books for getting in contact about a possible guest post.

I do plan to review Home Comforts in the near future (next month or two hopefully), so if this has peaked your interest and you read it before me, please let me know how it is!

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Book Review - Tides by Mara Oudenes-Cruz Ramos

Amazon UK
Title: Tides
Author: Mara Oudenes-Cruz Ramos
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Review copy thanks to the author
Publisher: Brave New Books
Publication Date: 16th March 2015
Rating: 4.5 Stars


Sun, sand and waves, three words that summarize what life is like at Sea Glass Beach. The normally quiet village is hosting a surfing festival with the biggest names and brands in the sport. The Kalani siblings; a lawyer and an instructor, and their friends; an investor and a librarian, are surrounded by new visitors, unexpected situations and a tide of emotions as they find themselves as amateur contestants in the world of professional surfing.

Sun, Sea, Sand, Surf and Sex... what more could you want from a book? All set in Sea Glass Beach, this is the story of an unlikely team of surfers, who decide to take part in a professional surfing competition, that is being held in their small village. 

There are many characters in this book, and many viewpoints too. At times you can become slightly confused, but most of the voices are distinctive. There are the Kalani siblings, Luna, Skye and Dax, their best friend Kay. And then there is Dylan, he has come to the surf school to have a lesson to see if he likes surfing, bonds instantly with Skye and Kay, and soon shows what he is made of. 

Dylan has many depths, and seems to fit into the Kalani clan like an extra son. None of his new friends at Sea Glass Beach, care that he is gay, despite his own parents disowning him for it. He soon meets a man he likes a lot, and as a reader we learn a lot about Dylan's relationship with his boyfriend. For those that may have an issue with such a topic, there is only 1 gay sex scene in the book, and its easily skipped past if you need to. I am only mentioning it as it took me by surprise, so wanted to inform you ahead of time. 

The members of Team Kalani are amazed when they get to meet Blu, one of the worlds top surfers, and her turns out to be a down to earth guy, who much prefers hanging around the Kalani family than with the team his sponsors have put him with. 

There are a lot of romances in Tides, and various friendships developing into more. There is a real sense of family and extended family, and a whole lot of good feeling about the place. 

The boulevard at Sea Glass Beach is fabulous, and I could from the descriptions really believe I was there, and that I was following along with the surfing. Despite my lack of knowledge of surfing tricks, a fair amount of the terminology is explained within the story. 

I always knew surfing was technical but never realised just how involved the sport was until I read this, and it has made me more determined than ever, to try to learn at least once in my life to surf, or body board or similar. 

Due to the quantity of characters, it is very hard to feel like you know any of them in any real details, but at its heart this is an enjoyable romantic comedy, with a sports side to it. It is wonderfully light hearted and an easy read. I enjoyed Tides a lot. 

Thank you to Mara Oudenes-Cruz Ramos to contacting me and offering a copy of this book for an honest review. This was my honest opinion and review. 

If this sounds like a book you would like to read, check out Mara's lovely guest post for Rachel's Random Reads about surfing

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Guest Post by Mara Oudenes - Surfing is life and the rest are details

I came into contact with the term surfing for the first time when I was ten years old. My parents had changed me into a private school to get a better education, as my previous one lacked good resources. A boy walked into the classroom and until then, I have never seen a boy like him before. His skin was dark, his hair blond and his eyes were green. Santiago was his name and according to the girls that were melting while looking at him, he was a surfer. As I made more friends, I realized that Santiago wasn't the only boy in class that practised the sport. Many others did. Every weekend, they would go down to a fishing village in my hometown of Guayama called Pozuelo and would ride the waves on their boards. The whole idea was fascinating and a bit romantic, or maybe I just had a crush on a boy or two.


Surfing originated in the islands in the Pacific, where people did it mainly for pleasure instead of as a sport. It has been commercialized and has spread throughout the whole world, although is mainly associated with places like Hawaii, Australia and California. My little island, Puerto Rico, even has 63 beach areas in which the sport is practised, so is difficult not to come in contact with it.


I started toying with the idea of a storyline for what would become my romance novel “Tides” years ago, but it wasn't until we visited the Caribbean island of Curacao that it started to get a real shape. 

When we visited Mambo Beach, I knew that I had found the perfect setting for Sea Glass Beach. It had the right atmosphere. Even the colours and the scents were perfect. Just like that first whiff of a bottle of sunscreen on your first day of vacation.


Then came the challenge... how to write a story about surfing when I barely know the essentials? I spent countless hours doing research and watching surfing videos online. I had to learn slang terms such as grommet (beginner surfer), bunny (a girl that likes to watch surfing), kook (inexperienced surfer), poser (a surfer wannabe), but also had to learn the parts of a surfing board as my character Luna is a shaper (a surf board builder).

Then I decided that there needs to be a competition, the quest. How to explain surfing manoeuvres without making the book sound like an instruction manual? That is where my character Dylan comes in. He is completely new to the world of surfing, and gets talked through everything by his friends.

Here is a bit of what Dylan has learned:
Wipe out: falling off the board
Bail out: jumping off the board before a potential wipe out
Carve: making of a radical turn
Climbing: making S-shaped paths on a wave
Cut back: turning toward the breaking part of the wave
Dropping: bottom turning, climbing back to the wave’s crest and then cutting back
Spinner: a 360 degree rotation
Tail slide: making the fins of the board lose their grip on purpose
Tube riding: surfing in the hollow portion in front of a wave

So this summer, head to the beach and send a prayer to the Kahuna (Hawaiian god of sun, sand and surf) that you get to spot these brave dudes and dudettes for whom surfing is life and the rest are details. Enjoy!

Author Bio
Mara Oudenes-Cruz Ramos is an indie romance writer, illustrator and graphic designer. She was born and brought up in Puerto Rico, where its surfing culture inspired her newest novel Tides. Mara lives in Heerhugowaard, The Netherlands and enjoys spending time with her husband and their little daughter. She likes attending craft workshops, reading chick lit and traveling with her whole family. You can visit her author webpage at http://www.maraoudenes.com



I would like to thank Mara for taking the time to initially contact me about reviewing her book, but also for writing this interesting post for us.

My review for Tides is being published tomorrow, so please do check back in the morning, to see what I thought of Mara's book.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Book Review - The Kill (Maeve Kerrigan 5) by Jane Casey

Amazon UK
Title: The Kill (Maeve Kerringan 5)
Author: Jane Casey
Format reviewed: Paperback
Source: Won in a competition
Publisher: Ebury Press
Publication Date: 20th November 2014
Rating: 4 Stars


A killer is terrorising London but this time the police are the targets. Urgently re-assigned to investigate a series of brutal attacks on fellow officers, Maeve Kerrigan and her boss Josh Derwent have little idea what motivates the killer’s fury against the force.

But they know it will only be a matter of time before the killer strikes again.

This story had be intrigued from the prologue. Where you hear first hand the witness account of a murder. 

One murder to solve was very interesting. The moment the second one happened, I had to know exactly what was going on, and how Maeve Kerrigan and her team would solve them, at which point a gripping book become practically unputdownable. 

I love reading books that keep you guessing as to who the murderer is, and the motive, but also the inner workings of MITs (Murtder Investigation Team). And if you are unsure as to all your police acronyms then there is a glossary of terms at the front of the book, to help you out. 

This can definitely be read as a stand alone, but there are enough references to what I am guessing happened in the previous books in the series to make me want to know more than what we are told. The back information we get is all relevant, and means you don't really need to have read the rest of the series.

I found the book to be a solid murder mystery story, with a lot of unexpected twists and turns. Overall a very good book, and I would love to read the next one in the series, as I really want to know what happens to Maeve and Derwent next. 

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Book Review - The Year I Met You by Cecelia Ahern - Paperback Summer

Amazon UK
Title: The Year I Met You
Author: Cecelia Ahern
Format reviewed: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: 4th June 2015
Rating: 4 Stars


A thoughtful, captivating and ultimately uplifting novel from this uniquely talented author

The year that changed my life.
For Jasmine, losing her job felt like losing everything.


The year I found home.
With a life built around her career and her beloved sister Heather, suddenly her world becomes the house and garden she has hardly seen and the neighbours she has yet to meet.

The year I met you.
But being fired is just the beginning for Jasmine. In the year that unfolds she learns more about herself than she could ever imagine – and more about other people than she ever dreamed. Sometimes friendship is found in the most unexpected of places.

I've got very mixed feeling about this book. On the whole I liked it but I seemed to like all elements of it, apart from the main story hinted at in the blurb. I found that a tad flat and boring,  but everything else about the book I loved. 

Having read many of Cecelia Ahern's previous books, I am sorry to say this isn't her best story. I think I preferred her earlier books that had a touch of the unbelievable about them, whereas this was far more of a normal women's fiction book. 

My favourite character was without a doubt Heather, and I wish we could have seen more than her. Heather, has Down's Syndrome, and leads a full and very active life. And her story mainly revolves around her family relationship, as well as her first ever boyfriend Jonathan. 

Jasmine is finding it hard to stop continually overprotecting Heather, especially after their mother had died.  There is a quote midway through the book that sums their relationship completely, and equally brought a large lump to my thread as I read it.

"I'm her big sister. When our mum died, she told me I'm the big sister and I have to look after Jasmine. I do all of these other things, but protecting Jasmine is my main job." - This just about sums up Heather, and its her endless bounds for compassion that makes her so likeable. 

I found Jasmine's "relationship" with her neighbour across the street a hard one to fathom. One minute they are at each others throats, with  she seems to completely despise him, and another minute they seem to be incredibly good friends and neighbours. I know I am over simplifying the situation a bit, but that is the way it came across to me. 

I found The Year I Met You to be a very slow starter, but once it got going, I was finding it harder to put down.  It was an enjoyable story, I just found it a bit off putting that I wasn't too keen on either main character, and loved all the sub plots and secondary characters a whole lot more than Jasmine and her neighbour. 

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Book Review - I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh - Paperback Summer

Amazon UK
Title: I Let You Go
Author: Clare Mackintosh
Format reviewed: Paperback
Source: Competition Win
Publisher: Sphere
Publication Date: 7th May 2015
Rating: 5 Stars


A tragic accident. It all happened so quickly. She couldn't have prevented it. Could she?

In a split second, Jenna Gray's world descends into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of a cruel November night that changed her life forever.

Slowly, Jenna begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating . . .

I Let You Go is a brilliant psychological thriller, with many twists and turns, and is written from a few perspectives. Right from the first few pages, I was completely enthralled, and by the end of part one, a book that I was already enjoying, went from great to "OMG I did not see that coming" level of reaction from me. 

I always tend to struggle when it comes to reviewing these sorts of books, the blurb speaks for itself, and I am reluctant to say much more, as with the frequency of revealed information, I would hate to give you a spoiler. 

What I will say is Jenna is a complex character, and in trying to escape the past, is slowly building herself a brighter new future. I found her an easy person to like, and even with the worst of the revelations, I was still on her side. 

It was good to see not only one side of the accident, but also the chapters from Ray's point of view, as the DI in charge of investigating the accident, how he was determined to solve exactly what happened that night, despite there being very little evidence. It is somewhat heartening to see a police officer's dedication to making sure they have the correct culprit, no matter how long it takes.  I was also fascinated by Ray's private life, and his interactions with his wife. I was convinced the story would go in one direction with him that could have been very obvious, and I'm glad it didn't, as this was far more interesting. 

The descriptions of the small cottage on the coast of Wales, that Jenna runs to, and its surrounding area, paint what I believe is an accurate picture of Wales coastal life, out of season, right down the level of cold! I loved Jenna's new career, so simple and artistic, but yet not an idea that I have encountered before...I wonder if anyone is doing that in real life at all!

Since Clare Mackintosh has worked in the police force, it is in some respects unsurprising the level of detail she can talk about the police force with, but I'm guessing that with her background, it explains how she can get into the mind of a truly despicable person (who you first meet at the beginning of Part 2).   I truly hope this is the first of many books from Clare, and I would happily be first in line to read her next one. 

This is a truly remarkable, page-turning debut novel, and one that I loved reading. Definitely an author to watch out for, and if you haven't tried a psychological thriller before, than make this your first, as it is a brilliant example of the genre. 

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Book Review - Killing Monica by Candace Bushnell

Amazon UK
Title: Killing Monica
Author: Candace Bushnell
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Little Brown Book Group
Publication Date: 23rd June 2015
Rating: 4.5 Stars


In Killing Monica Bushnell spoofs and skewers her way through pop culture, celebrity worship, fame and even the meaning of life itself, when a famous writer must resort to faking her own death in order to get her life back from her most infamous creation - Monica. With her trademark humour and style, Killing Monica is Bushnell's sharpest, funniest book to date.

This is Bushnell at her best - full of mordant wit, casual sex and highly conspicuous consumption.

This is the first book by Candace Bushnell I have read for years, and I'm not completely sure what to make of it. I know I enjoyed it, and there is a final reveal during the last few pages that left me reeling, while also curious as to whether or not there could possibly be a follow up. 

The story could at times be confusing, but it was very entertaining. It is a story about identity, and about creating a character and the creation practically taking on a life of its own. 

At the most basic level of story, we have Pandy (P.J. Wallis), author of the Monica series, Monica was written as a more idealistic way of how Pandy would like her life to be, and so in essence she is "Monica". There is also Sondrabeth Schnowzer, who is the actress that Pandy requested play Monica in the films of the same name. 

A friendship soon occurred between Pandy and Sondrabeth, but it soon became apparent that Sondra thought she was Monica all the time, and not just in the films. 

Two girls, who both think they are living Monica's life, and neither of whom, in reality have control over Monica. 

There is everything in this book, a bit of a mystery, revenge, laughs, digs on the entertainment industry, friendship, untrustworthy men and a whole lot more. 

The book starts when Pandy's new book (a non Monica book) has been rejected by her publishers, and it then moves to the part of the book where we learn how things lead up to this point. I found the first few chapters a bit hectic, until I started reading the back story and realising just how much I was enjoying Killing Monica as a whole. And then once they move back into the present, there are some completely mad things that happen (which I could believe as this is a spoof of the entertainment industry, and that can be "unrealistic"), and the pace ups to a satisfying conclusion.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed Killing Monica, and was continually curious as to whether they would manage to kill Monica or not. I think the book can also serve as a cautionary tale for future authors/actors to not let a character become too big a part of your life, or it could become a lot bigger than you.

Thank you to Netgalley and Little Brown Book Group for my e-ARC of this book. This was my honest review. 

Killing Monica is published today, so head out and get yourself a copy!

Monday, 22 June 2015

Book Review - No-One Ever Has Sex in the Suburbs by Tracy Bloom

Amazon UK
Title: No-One Ever Has Sex in the Suburbs
Author: Tracy Bloon
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Lawsome Books
Publication Date: 23rd June 2015
Rating: 5 Stars


Ben and Katy haven't had sex since Ben found out about her one-night stand with her childhood sweetheart, Matthew. 

Not only that but the arrival of a new-born baby has blown their relationship apart like a hand grenade. 

Drastic measures are required, so they swap roles hoping that everyone will be happier... Only it’s not as easy as they thought. When a desperate Ben starts secretly accepting help to solve his childcare disasters – from Matthew’s wife – it could mean the end of everything. Can their relationship survive the lies and suspicions and will they ever have sex again?

I honestly don't know if I have the words to do justice to just how fabulous this book is. I was laughing before I even reached the end of the prologue, I was smiling and giggling during the whole book, as there was never a dull moment, and I had tears of joy towards the end.  This is the ultimate upbeat, entertaining book, and one I was in no doubt deserved 5 stars, or more. 

This continues where No-one Ever Has Sex on a Tuesday leaves off, but don't worry if you haven;t read the first book, this can be read as a standalone, all the relevant back information is included. 

Ben and Katy are now the parents to baby Millie, and are discovering just how hard parenthood really is. Katy isn't really coping with Millie, and is wishing she was back at work, and Ben is upset he doesn't earn enough to not be stressed about finances. 

After a night out with his friends Ben suggests he and Katy switch places, and so he becomes a stay at home dad, with no real clue how to look after Millie. However help surfaces in an unusual source, and the outcomes are incredibly funny. 

Not only do they have a new baby to look after, they also haven't had sex, since it was revealed that Katy had, had a one night stand with a childhood sweetheart. So Katy and Ben's friends start coming up with all sorts of plans so that the pair can reunite in the bedroom!

I loved the scenes including Ben's best friend Braindead, because the things he comes out with, are completely nonsensical, very random but yet have many grains of truth, and pauses for thought in them. He is a weird mix of very insightful and utterly clueless. 

We also get insights into what is happening to Matthew and Alison, and how they are coping with the twins. Alison's approach to parenting it completely different to that of Ben and Katy, so it is great to see two completely different ways to trying to raise a baby.

No-One Ever Has Sex in the Suburbs is an easy to read, hilarious story, that is great for all circumstances, whether you are looking for a great holiday read, or just something to pick your mood up, this book will do it. Such a fantastic story, full of incidents, suspicions, self-doubt and exactly what you would expect from new parents. I can't recommend this enough. 

Thank you so much to Lawsome Books and Netgalley for this review copy. This was my honest opinion and review. 

No-One Ever Has Sex in the Suburbs is out tomorrow in ebook. 

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Promo - 7 Years Bad Sex by Nicky Wells


One wedding. One curse?  Disaster ever after…

A seven-years-bad-sex curse? Surely not! Yet something went wrong when rock singer Casey and drummer Alex got married on that beautiful yacht anchored off St Tropez in the south of France. Something went badly wrong. For even on their wedding night, the young couple discovers a complete and somewhat surprising inability to make love. Muddling through their honeymoon with a string of thin excuses for their predicament, the lovers defer finding a solution (and panicking) until the return to their home in London. After all, they married for life and to make rock music, not for the love of sex. Right?

But when they resume life as normal in London, all hell breaks loose. Increasingly frantic in their quest for release, the unhappy newlyweds embark on a string of hilarious and occasionally harmful antics that drives them, their band, and an assortment of random strangers to the brink of despair. But it ain’t over ‘til it’s over or, in this case… it ain’t over ‘til the newlyweds sing.


About Nicky Wells


Ultimate rock chick author Nicky Wells writes romance with rock stars—because there’s no better romantic hero than a golden-voiced bad boy with a secret soft heart and a magical stage presence!

Nicky’s books offer glitzy, glamorous romance with rock stars—imagine Bridget Jones ROCKS Notting Hill! If you’ve ever had a crush on any kind of celebrity, you’ll connect with Nicky’s heroes and their leading ladies.

Born in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993 and currently lives in Lincoln with her husband and their two boys. Nicky loves listening to rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When she’s not writing, she’s a wife, mother, occasional knitter, and ad-hoc radio show presenter. Rock on!

Nicky’s books: Sophie’s Turn | Sophie’s Run | Sophie’s Encore | Spirits of Christmas
| Fallen for Rock | Fairy Tale in New York | 7 Years Bad Sex


Did you know? There’s a single out now by Nicky’s fictional rock band Tuscq come to life! “Love Me Better” is available for download from Amazon, iTunes and many other places. 

JOIN THE PROMO PARTY ON 20TH JUNE!


YOU CAN FIND THE PARTY HERE - https://www.facebook.com/events/1000603729951759/

There will be fun and games, Prizes and lots of laughs. Starting online at 9am on 20th June!





Friday, 19 June 2015

Book Review - The Thirty List by Eva Woods

Amazon UK
Title: The Thirty List
Author: Eva Woods
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Mills & Boon
Publication Date: 18th June 2015
Rating: 4 Star


Everyone has one
That list.

The things you were supposed to do before you turn thirty.

Jobless, broke and getting a divorce, Rachel isn’t exactly living up to her own expectations. And moving into grumpy single dad Patrick’s box room is just the soggy icing on top of her dreaded thirtieth birthday cake.

Eternal list-maker Rachel has a plan – an all new set of challenges to help her get over her divorce and out into the world again – from tango dancing to sushi making to stand-up comedy.

But as Patrick helps her cross off each task, Rachel faces something even harder; learning to live – and love – without a checklist.

I had been really looking forward to this book. It sounded just my sort of thing, plus the main character shares my name, and I'm only a year older than her. I figured it may give me any idea of where my life should be going! Rachel's life though is quite different from mine though, and apart from Patrick, I think I prefer my life. 

I found Rachel to be a hard character to fully like, yes she is going through a divorce, and I appreciate that must be hard, but she seems to be just a bit whiny, and I really didn't completely get to grips with her best friends either. There seemed to be more moaning than anything else. 

What really saves this book  for me though are two things. The List and Patrick (plus Alex & Max). Patrick is a newly single dad, living with 4 year old, and loveable dog, Max. Patrick is struggling a bit by himself so advertises for someone to share his home, and in exchange for no rent, do a few light housekeeping and au-pair type tasks. Rachel being desperate for somewhere to live, after her soon to be ex-husband kicks her out, takes Patrick up on this. 

Rachel's friends have decided the best way for her to get over the post break-up, pre-divorce slump, is to create a sort of bucket list, of experiences Rachel should have, that broaden her horizons. When she is explaining this to Patrick he decides to make his own list. 

A large amount of the book is Rachel and Patrick taking part in the various items on the list. These are my favourite bits, as most of them are really well told, and in the case of their attempts at stand up comedy, are surprisingly funny. 

You will soon discover there is nothing Rachel likes more than a list. She is always writing them for everything, and large amounts of her lists are interlinked into the story, often giving short anecdotes into incidents in her past. These are a nice and easy to follow story telling device, that give you more background to Rachel and her friends. 

There are many comic moments in this book, and The Thirty List is an enjoyable, easy to read book about friendship and picking up your life after a bad break up. For those of you who have taken one look at the publisher of this book (Mills & Boon) and expected a blatant romance of some sort, you will be surprised. There is the starts of a tentative romance, but its more friendship than anything else featured. There are also some attempts at Rachel and Patrick to start dating again, but with hilarious (and somewhat familiar) consequences. 

I will admit I did struggle a bit with the book at the beginning but I believe it was my frame of mind and not the book. I am glad I got past my struggle, and by the final quarter, I was dying to know how everything turned out for all characters. 

Thank you to Mills & Boon and Netgalley for my review copy of this book. This was my honest review.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Guest Post - Jennifer Gilby Roberts - Choosing a Song for Your First Dance

Don't Forget the Lyrics!

Music is the food of love and no dish is more important than the tune to which a newly married couple take to the dance floor.  With so many fabulous classic and modern love songs out there, the choice is a difficult one.  And with all the millions of other wedding details to get right, it's not surprising that some couples forget one crucial thing – to actually listen to the words. You see, there are a lot of songs that are rather misleading. Some of the song is very romantic, but other parts a little less so.

For example, YouTube is full of proposals done to 'Marry You' by Bruno Mars.  Now, I adore that song.  I could listen to it all day.  And a lot of it is very romantic.  But let's examine the lyrics a little more closely.

“It's a beautiful night
We're looking for something dumb to do
Hey, baby
I think I want to marry you”

Now, leaving aside the mildly derogatory 'baby', is it just me who would prefer not to be told that marrying me is a dumb thing to do?

More worryingly, however, we have these lines:

“If we wake up and you wanna break up that's cool
No, I won't blame you
It was fun girl.”

Personally, I'd like a little more commitment from my future spouse than that.

Continuing in this vein, it seems to be worryingly common to choose a song that is actually about breaking up.  Popular examples include 'How Do I Live Without You?' by Leann Rimes and 'I Will Always Love You' by Whitney Houston.  I suppose, on the face of it, it is romantic to go on about how you couldn't bear to live without the other person, but I can't help feeling that this isn't what you want to focus on on your wedding day.  It's supposed to be a happy occasion – share some joy with your song choice!

We had a lot of music at our wedding.  Some of the songs we chose:
'L.O.V.E' by Nat King Cole (our first dance)
'Happy to be Stuck with You' by Huey Lewis and the News
'June Bride' from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
'(This Will Be) An Everlasting Love' by Natalie Cole
The theme tune from The Muppets (don't ask)
I'm very happy with our choices.  They were fun and they were joyful and they were us.  Because the greatest choice of all is one that reflects you as a couple.  One where it's obvious to everyone there – or at least the people who know you best – why you chose that particular song to start you on your journey together.


Magical Weddings

15 Enchanting Romances: Whether real or only in the hearts of the bride and groom, the magic of weddings is undeniable. And irresistible! As these 15 enchanting happily-ever-afters by bestselling and award-winning authors prove.
From sweet to spicy, the romances bundled into this set, 14 of them new releases, cross time and unite hearts, cast spells of laughter, battle wedding jitters and fight back tears, while weaving love’s hopeful magic throughout 1400 pages.


Purchase Links:-  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | iTunes | Kobo

About Jennifer Gilby Roberts

Jennifer Gilby Roberts has a degree in physics and a postgraduate certificate in computing, so a career writing fiction was inevitable really. She was born and grew up in Surrey/Greater London, but now lives in North Yorkshire with her husband, small daughter, two middle-aged cats and a lot of dust bunnies.
Her books include The Dr Pepper Prophecies, After Wimbledon and Early Daze.

Find Jennifer at her blogFacebookTwitterPinterestGoogle +,  GoodreadsLibraryThingBarnes & NobleAmazonKobo and iBooks


Thank you so much Jennifer Gilby Roberts for that very interesting, and completely true post about Wedding Song lyrics. I loved reading it. 

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