Monday, 30 September 2013

Broken Beauty-Chloe Adams

I am not always a fan of books that are obviously serialised, mainly because I am an impatient so-and-so and hate waiting around to find out what happens next.  However, I liked the sound of Broken Beauty

Very different to my usual reading matter, Broken Beauty follows Mia, a politician's daughter, in the aftermath of a sexual attack, the book is naturally disturbing and uncomfortable reading.  There were times where it was painful to see inside Mia's soul and realise how every aspect of her life has been affected by her trauma.  I felt that Chloe Adams managed to portray the horror of rape with sensitivity and I cared for Mia as a character, willing her ordeal to somehow become easier and for her to get the support she so desperately needs and deserves.

Most suited to mature young adults/new adults (16+), Broken Beauty may cross over into the adult mainstream.  I haven't read many fiction books that explore the aftermath of rape in such detail, and it made far more of an impression on me than I expected.  I want to know what happens next to Mia and will definitely be looking out for the next instalment in the series, due out in November.

Not the easiest of reads, but one that made me think about the struggle between doing what is right and what is expected.

Broken Beauty is out now published by Indie Inked.


With thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in return for an honest review.

Kate Shackleton cover reveal!

Frances Brody is an author I have been keen to try for a while now.  I love a good cosy mystery and can't wait to get acquainted with detective Kate Shackleton.  The covers are all gorgeous with an art deco feel and the latest cover for Murder on a Summer's Day is no exception.  Stunningly attractive!

Publisher: Piatkus (3 Oct 2013)
416 pages
ISBN-10: 034940058X
ISBN-13: 978-0349400587

Murder on a Summer’s Day is the fifth novel in the Kate Shackleton Mystery Series set in 1920s Yorkshire.

A Maharajah on the Moors

When the India Office seek help in finding Maharajah Narayan, last seen hunting on the Bolton Abbey estate, they call upon the expertise of renowned amateur detective Kate Shackleton to investigate.

A Priceless Jewel

But soon a missing person’s case turns to murder. Shot through the heart, it’s clear to Kate that Narayan’s body has not been in the woods overnight. Who brought it here, and from where? And what has happened to the hugely valuable diamond that was in the Maharajah’s possession?

An inexplicable murder . . .

As Kate digs deeper, she soon discovers that vengeance takes many forms. Was the Maharajah’s sacrilegious act of shooting a white doe to blame? Or are growing rumours of a political motive too powerful for Kate to discount?

One thing Kate is sure of: her own skills and insights. Qualities that she is sure will help her unravel a mysterious murder on that fateful summer’s day . . .

Available to buy now from Amazon 


Kate Shackleton receives a dawn telephone call from her cousin James, a civil servant in the India Office. James tells Kate that a visiting Indian prince has gone missing from the Duke of Devonshire’s Yorkshire estate, leaving behind his female companion, a former Folies Bergere dancer. James asks Kate to investigate. Housekeeper Mrs Sugden offers her usual sterling support.

James’s briefing had left me feeling less than well-armed for the task ahead. What was a maharajah of Gattiawan doing in Yorkshire? Why was he visiting Bolton Abbey before the start of the shooting season? Today was Saturday, 2 August, so open season, but with ten days to go before grouse-shooting began, on the Glorious Twelfth.
James had not even told me when the maharajah and his companion arrived in Yorkshire.
I checked my watch. Ten minutes to six.
Mrs Sugden called from the doorway. ‘I’ve found summat about maharajahs.’
‘I’ll be there in a tick.’
Fortunately, Mrs Sugden is a fast reader and The Times Court Circulars have the virtue of brevity. She placed the relevant pages on the piano stool, drawing it up to the chaise longue.
We sat side by side as she tapped the page with her ridged fingernail and read, ‘The Maharajah of Kapurthala is the first Indian Prince to visit the British Empire Exhibition. He expressed his satisfaction with the Punjab Court exhibit. He has now returned to Paris, but will be back.’
‘What about Gattiawan?’
Mrs Sugden is nothing if not thorough. ‘Aga Khan … Maharajah of Rajpipla at the Savoy Hotel … Maharajah of Nawanger … They’ll all know each other. Probably rivals, and one of them has done away with another, perhaps sent an assassin. It’s like Shakespeare. Ah, here he is. The Maharajah of Gattiawan arrived at Marseilles yesterday in the SS Malwa on his way to London.’
I looked at the item, dated 26 April. It gave no indication whether the maharajah was travelling overland, or stopping on the way. ‘Nothing else since then?’
She shook her head. ‘Nowt else in Court Circulars, only an article about the good command of English among educated Indians, from the Special Correspondent in Bombay.’
There was nothing for it but to set off, feeling less than well-prepared.
I shrugged into my motoring coat.
Mrs Sugden followed me along the garden path. ‘You don’t have much luggage. Have you packed an evening dress?’
‘The Delphos robe.’ I opened the car door and got in quickly, before she had time for more questions.
She frowned at my choice of evening wear. ‘I suppose that Delphos gown doesn’t betray its age. But I can pack another bag for you.’
I started the motor. ‘If I need anything else, I’ll send you a telegram.’ My mind already raced ahead. Prince Narayan of Gattiawan, where are you?
Mrs Sugden waved, folding her other arm around herself against the morning chill.
A sudden thought propelled her through the gate. She leaned into the motor. ‘Be careful. They all carry daggers, and they’re very good at strangling.’
‘I’ll try to stay in one piece, throat intact.’
As I drove away I heard her call something about the black hole of Calcutta, but my thoughts were already on the missing man, the lovers’ tiff, and the mysterious Miss Metcalfe who had hooked herself an Indian prince.
James wanted to rule out theft and foul play. The Yorkshire Dales has its sprinkling of poachers. But jewel thieves, murderers? Surely not.

About the Author

Frances Brody writes the highly acclaimed mystery series set in 1920s Yorkshire, featuring First World War widow turned sleuth, Kate Shackleton; twice nominated for the Crime Writers’ Association Dagger in the Library. As Frances McNeil, she has written for radio, theatre and television and published sagas, winning the HarperCollins Elizabeth Elgin Award for the most regionally evocative debut saga of the millennium.

Visit Frances online at ,on Facebook Http:// , Twitter @FrancesBrody, or on Goodreads.

Frances is also kindly giving away 2 signed copies of the book via a rafflecopter giveaway-enter below!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Wing Girl- Nic Tatano

Belinda Carson is a well known reporter, and the ultimate 'wing girl'- attracting the attention of men and allowing her friends the opportunity to swoop and grab them.

However, the time has come for Belinda to get a man of her own.  After a quick fire makeover to get tongues wagging and a crash course in etiquette, she is officially looking for a man. 

Before long Belinda has the attention of Scott, a handsome volunteer at the cat shelter.  He seems to have all the same interests as her and is certainly attractive, but irritating Vincent, cousin of Belinda's friend Rox, is always there in the background.  Can Belinda find the man of her dreams and rid herself of the wing girl tag once and for all?

I was looking for a romantic, entertaining novel and I found one in Wing Girl.  It did take a while to hook me in as I felt Wing Girl was a bit of a slow starter, but once the romance began I couldn't put it down.  I desperately wanted Belinda to find her Mr Right!  I loved how Belinda had a tightknit group of friends watching out for her, they reminded me of the ladies from Sex and the City- no nonsense and honest, yet caring too.

I felt the epilogue was an unnecessary add-on and I would have preferred the book to have finished at the end of the final chapter, but overall I found Wing Girl to be a fun read which had me rooting for love to reign supreme.

Wing Girl is out now, published by Harper Impulse.


With thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Incoming #4

Here are the books that have come to live at my house this week...

Bought -

A Writer's Diary- Virginia Woolf
Family Roundabout-Richmal Crompton
(These are both published by Persephone, their books are gorgeous but the covers don't show the title clearly when reduced in size!)

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Shine On Award

I was nominated for this rather gorgeous award by Kirsty from The Love of a Good Book.  She has one of the most entertaining book blogs out there and I never fail to laugh out loud when reading her posts.  That she nominated me for this has made my birthday!

THE SHINE ON AWARD Here are the rules of the award:
1. Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.
2. Acknowledge that blogger on your blog, and link back.
3. Share seven random, interesting things about yourself.
4. Nominate up to 15 bloggers for the Shine On Award, provide a link to their blogs in your post, and notify them on their blogs.

So, random and interesting.  Here goes...

1) I have always wanted to learn to be a trapeze artist.  In July 2011 I went to a workshop and had a go, but my poor legs were bruised and my hands were bleeding.  I realised as much as I would love to do it I am too delicate.  Maybe I should try bareback riding or fire eating instead.

2) I've been a vegetarian for 23 years.
3) I'm studying for an Open University degree.  It is so much harder to do a degree when you have a family/job/house than when you are a full time student!  My first degree seems like a doddle in comparison.

4) I am a big Take That fan and meeting Gary Barlow was one of the most exciting moments of my life!

5) If I could only eat one food for the rest of my life it would be bread and butter.

6) My best birthday present ever is my cat Clarence.

7) I love Morrissey and The Smiths and, as a pilgrimage of sorts, have been to Salford Lads Club twice.

The first pic was in 2005 (I think)-definitely before getting married.  The second was 2012-unfortunately having a baby made me much bigger.  Ah well, some girls are bigger than others...

I am nominating-

Lorraine Wilson cover reveal!

You may remember that I really enjoyed Lorraine Wilson's Confessions of a Chalet Girl and was happy to hear there would be more steamy romance in freezing climes coming in the autumn.  You can read my review of Confessions here.

I can't wait to get my hand on a copy of Secrets of a Chalet Girl and there isn't long to go until the release on October 24th!  In fact, I've heard through the grapevine that it can be pre-ordered already.  Take a sneaky peek at the cover...

Lorraine promises more there are more adventures (both of the heart and on the slopes) in Secrets of a Chalet Girl and that there will also be a third book at Christmas.   Great news for all the romanceaholics out there.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

My Liebster Award

I’m pleased to say that I’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award an amazing THREE TIMES by Sheli at Sheli Reads , Jo at Jaffa Reads Too and Victoria at Victoria Loves Books.

So what is the Liebster Award?

The idea behind the award is to give new and upcoming bloggers the opportunity to build their community and get to know one another. It’s the perfect way to meet new people and let them find out some interesting facts about you.

Here’s some rules:

 1. Answer the questions that the tagger set for you plus create questions for the people you’ve tagged to answer;
2. Nominate some other bloggers!
3. Let them know!

So here are my answer to Sheli's questions...

1. If you could be any fictional character who would you be?
Jane Eyre.  Just because I am so in love with Edward Rochester that it is untrue.

2. What is your favourite film/TV adaptation?
I loved the BBC version of Sarah Waters' Tipping the Velvet and also The Night Watch, but my favourite would be the BBC Jane Eyre (again, I know) with Toby Stephens playing Mr Rochester.

3. What was your favourite book as a child?
I loved all Enid Blyton books, especially the Famous Five and Secret Seven books.

4. Do you read any non-fiction? If so, what topic do you read about?
I do, I enjoy books about football, the UK, autobiographies (if the subject interests me), books about Morrissey/The Smiths, dance, cats, Wales...

5. What book are you going to read next?
I literally just started Amelia Grey's Fireside Dream by Abby Clements. After that I don't know-have a really big selection to choose from though!

6. What has been your favourite book of 2013 so far?
I absolutely adored Glaciers by Alexis M. Smith (read my review here ).  That is my favourite adult read so far this year.

7. Who would play you in a movie about your life?
Ana Fur Laxis, who is a stunningly beautiful and totally fabulous burlesque star.  She looks nothing like me, but still..

This was taken when I met Anna back in 2010 (my hair looks a real mess after backcombing/rolling it for hours-it was at a vintage hair and make up workshop!)

8. Can you read in more than one language?
I can understand some French, German, Welsh and Spanish, but certainly nowhere near fluently in any of them!

9. Which author would you recommend readers follow on Twitter for entertainment purposes?
I am always entertained by @sarasheridan , she tweets some fabulous vintage pictures and interesting facts plus is extremely passionate about reading.

10. What book is at the top of your Christmas wishlist?
I am currently trying to collect every book published by Persephone, so any of those that I don't have already is right up there.  I also saw a gorgeous edition of Jane Eyre (I know, I know, I am sounding like a stuck record) when I was at Rossiter Books in Monmouth and so that is on my wishlist.

And my answers to Jo's...

1 - The best book you read last year
The best book I read in 2012-I honestly can't remember back that far!

2 - A book that you've read more than 3 times
Could be one of any number, but one of the Famous Five books.  I think Five Go Adventuring Again was my favourite.

3 - Favourite book turned into a movie
I tend to prefer TV adaptations, but do like Willy Wonka, partly because my son adored it and it was on repeat in our house for months.

 4 – Favourite book from your childhood
See above in answers to Sheli's questions!!

 5 - A book that makes you happy
All books make me happy. 

 6 - A book that makes you sad
I bawled my eyes out the first time I read Marley and Me.  Heartwrenching.

 7 - Most underrated book
So many books are underrated.  Picturebooks in particular are undervalued.

 8 - Most overrated book
I have never got into Wuthering Heights, but maybe one day I will. 

 9 - A book you thought you wouldn't like but ending up loving
Any of the Harry Potter books.  I put them off for a long time but when I was sucked in I was sucked in good and proper.

 10 - A Book you have wanted to read for a long time but haven't
The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson has been on my shelf since it was released.  Have heard great things but never picked it up.  So many books, so little time...

And Victoria's questions...

1. Which Disney character would you like to be?
Nala.  Being a lioness and queen would be quite cool.

2. Worst book you have ever read?
If they are that bad I don't tend to finish them.  I did finish the Old Man and the Sea though by Hemingway and didn't get the fuss at all.

3. 4 book blogs you enjoy reading?
Victoria Loves Books
Random Things Through My Letterbox
Laura's Little Book Blog
Chapter One, Page One

Although I read so many book blogs and always enjoy them so it was hard to single any out!

4. Recommend a book?
If you haven't read 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff, you must.

5. Worst film adaption of a book?
I don't like the film version of Dahl's The Witches at all.

6. Would you rather go into the big Brother house or the Jungle (I’m a celeb)?
Big Brother house because I am veggie and couldn't eat the bugs

7. Ant or Dec?
Ant.  No, Dec.  No, Ant.  (Repeat to fade)

8. Favourite heroine from a book?
I don't really have heroines as such.  Maybe someone from a fairy tale- is Red Riding Hood a heroine?

9. Name 5 bad habits you have?
Nail biting, compulsive book buying, saying 'yes' to everything, tapping my feet whenever I am standing still, singing randomly when anyone quotes song lyrics in general conversation

10. 5 authors you would like to have dinner with?
JK Rowling, Daphne du Maurier, Helene Hanff, Sarah Waters and Roald Dahl.  Think it would be an interesting mix.

I'm going to nominate

@mrskidster from Yvonne's Reading Blog

@emmaiswriting from Emma Is Writing

@erinschoicee from Erin's Choice

And my questions are-

1) What are you currently reading?

2) How many books do you have waiting to be read?

3) When you were a child, what job did you dream of having when you grew up?

4) What was your favourite subject at school?

5) Which do you do first-read the book or see the film?

6) What is the most disgusting thing you have eaten?

7) What was the last book you bought?

8) Who is your favourite author?

9) What is your favourite chocolate bar?

10) What made you decide to start blogging?

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Learning to Love- Sheryl Browne *part of Sheryl Browne's blog tour*

Andrea feels like life is running away from her.  A mum of three also caring for her mother, Andrea is plodding along with her partner Jonathan offering little comfort or support.  When tragedy strikes and Andrea finds her home burnt to a crisp, it isn't Jonathan there to pick up the pieces, nor her house-proud best friend Sally.  Handsome doctor David Adams welcomes Andrea and her dysfunctional family into his home whilst the insurance claim is being processed and Andrea finds that everyone important in her life is part of a very tangled web...

I really enjoyed Learning to Love.  The characters were easy to relate to, especially Andrea.  It had just the right balance of humour to alleviate the more serious aspects of the story. Sheryl Browne portrayed the emotions of bereavement in childhood in a sensitive and touching way, and the dynamics of the relationship between David and his son Jake was interesting to read.  I loved the children in Learning to Love and how they were distinct characters rather than just bit-parts.  They were definitely given the attention they deserved and allowed to develop as the novel progressed.  I thought the plot was fun, although did predict a few key events before they happened, which was the main negative for me. 

Learning to Love manages to encapsulate how it feels to be a woman trying to keep on top of everyday life.  I am sure that Andrea's story will resonate with female readers particularly those who feel they are juggling so many aspects of life and a ball (or six) could drop any moment.  A light hearted story despite touching on some serious issues, Learning to Love is an entertaining, easy read- a more mature style of chick-lit that might appeal to fans of Katie Fforde.

Learning to Love is out now, published by Safkhet.


With thanks to Sheryl Browne for providing me with a copy of Learning to Love in return for an honest review.  Sheryl would love to hear from you via twitter, @SherylBrowne.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Black Chalk- Christopher J. Yates *Plus author top 5 places to write!*

But it was never supposed to be that sort of game...
Black Chalk is a gripping tale of campus life, peer pressure and how a harmless game can escalate to become all-encompassing.  Six Oxford students become involved in Game Soc- one of the many societies designed to distract students from their studies.  However, what started as a game full of childish dares and minor humiliations soon transpires to be much more than that, with tragic consequences... Set over a fourteen year period, Black Chalk is a chilling representation of egocentric desires and dogged resolution to triumph.
Black Chalk has a really interesting premise.  The idea that we can so easily relinquish control, especially when battling to be a 'winner', really resonated, and whilst there were times when Black Chalk did seem far-fetched, the dark and ominous foreboding that I felt as a reader had me hooked.  There were plenty of twists and turns and Yates's writing style is succinct yet illuminating, which allowed me to visualise both the characters and settings throughout.
I found the earlier sections of the book the most interesting, particularly the tasks the students were required to complete early on.  Amusing and cringeworthy, they set the scene and allude to what later comes. 
If you are a fan of dark, psychological thrillers, Black Chalk is well worth a read.  I can also imagine it working well as a dramatisation serialised for TV.  Yates has created a dense and impactive work that draws the reader in as the game spirals out of control . 
Black Chalk is out now, published by Harvill Secker.
With thanks to Fiona for providing me with a review copy of this book in return for an honest review, and to Christopher J. Yates for his support and co-operation, including providing Books with Bunny with the exclusive piece published below.  Here's Christopher...
I noticed that Kate very recently posted about her favourite places to read and I thought it might be fun to respond with my favourite places to write.
1) On holiday

This might seem odd, after all, I’m supposed to be on holiday enjoying myself. However, the mind doesn’t stop ticking just because the water’s warm and the beer is cold, for example. In fact, I wrote a lot of my first book on my honeymoon in Argentina. My wife quite took to the idea of taking a siesta every afternoon and while she did, I tapped away as the lunchtime refreshment tangoed its way down through my brain.

2) In the dog park

I live near Tompkins Square Park in New York and it has an excellent dog park. My cocker spaniel Mabel is considerably antisocial but when the weather is good I force her to mingle snootily with the other dogs (she thinks she’s better than them) while I scribble away in a notebook. I’m English, but I love to hear the chatter of Americans around me while I write. The different tones, the different ideas, the different words…

3) On the subway

Again, I love being a secret foreign scribbler. The New York subway flashes around you with kaleidoscopic life. Ideas bubble up. Even if I’m setting a scene in an Oxford garden, the subway energises me.

4) In the bar

It’s been said many times by many writers, even the heaviest drinkers – alcohol and writing DO NOT MIX (by which it’s actually meant, being drunk and writing do not mix). However, one pint, two pints at most, sometimes a bar can be a very pleasant place to lay down a few words. You write five hundred of them, you look at them the next day, you delete the last 92 words. (1.647 pints is the precise point at which alcohol ceases to become useful.)

5) At my desk

OK, not my favourite place to write but by far the most productive. This is the engine room. 95 per cent of my first book was written at my desk (in a corner of my bedroom, next to a school playground, accompanied by the screams of young children). I might enjoy the other locations more, but realistically, unfortunately, this is where the hard graft is done. And at least if I’m at home, I’m never far from the kettle.


Friday, 20 September 2013

Incoming #3

Incoming this week....

Received for review-


Thursday, 19 September 2013

The Bookstore-Deborah Meyler

I am always drawn to books about books.  Fiction, non-fiction, whatever-I just love to read about them.  So when I saw that Deborah Meyler's The Bookstore was set in an independent book shop in New York, I was convinced that it would be right up my street. 

The Bookstore charts Esme Garland's year as a PhD student at Columbia University.  Her plans go askew when she fall in love with wealthy Mitchell van Leuven, a strong, sexually charged American.  Esme quickly finds herself pregnant and her life in New York looks set to change. 

Determined to make her own money, Esme begins to work at The Owl.  A bookstore with an idealist outlook, The Owl welcomes everyone-from collectors to browsers, academics to the homeless.  As she seeks solace within the confines of the shop Esme learns about herself, the books that surround her and what it truly means to love.  Emotive and enticing, I found The Bookstore a real page-turner.

There were times where I found Esme to be frustrating as a character, and I wanted to tell her to grow up and develop a back bone.  However, I did also feel empathy towards her, particularly as the story developed.  My favourite characters were the staff and homeless people who frequented The Owl.  Captivatingly eccentric, they were delightful outsiders to the high-fashion, high-tempo New York lifestyle, perfectly juxtaposed kooky characters against the city backdrop.  The Owl is almost a character within itself.  A warm, safe oasis of pre-loved books offering shelter and companionship, The Owl is presented as a reliable best friend, a haven for those in need.

My main gripe with The Bookstore is that it sometimes veered towards pretentious and indulgent, although I can forgive it that.  Any negatives were outweighed by Meyler's ability to capture the importance of a book to a booklover, the promise offered between the covers, the endless scope for escape.  This book encapsulates the emotions I feel for reading; the passion it evokes deep in my soul.

The Bookstore is out now, published by Bloomsbury Reader.


With thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Popping the Cherry-Aurelia B. Rowl *Review and launch day blitz celebration*

Here at Books with Bunny I am delighted to be involved with the release day blitz for Aurelia B. Rowl's mature YA book Popping the Cherry
Firstly read my review, and then you can find out more about the author, where you can buy the book and how to enter a fabulous competition to win teen books!
Popping the Cherry starts off with a challenge for Lena.  The only one of her group of friends who is still a virgin, Lena hopes to 'pop her cherry' before her 18th birthday.  The girls set about making a list of possible candidates for the job in hand.  However, it isn't long before things get out of hand and Lena is forced to learn lessons in both life and love...
Being completely honest, I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book. It sounded like it could be a frivolous teen read, a bit of an American Pie type tale, and as a thirty-something I'm not really the target audience.  I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Popping the Cherry and would definitely class it as cross over fictionThe plot was much more than a high school coming-of-age tale and I felt the variety of emotions Lena experienced throughout the book showed the diversity of the tumultuous teenage years.   Aurelia B. Rowl also captures the pain that can be caused by bullying and peer pressure, reminding me of some of the more negative experiences of my adolescence. 
On a lighter note, if you're looking for a new book crush then you could do much worse than Jake (or indeed Zac). Lena's best friend's brother, Jake is level-headed, thoughtful and devilishly attractive.  What more could a girl want?! 
Romantic and humorous, Popping the Cherry encapsulates how it feels to be a teenager.  Thank goodness I am well past that now!  
I would have absolutely loved this book in my mid/late teens and am sure that the target audience will devour Popping the Cherry
Popping the Cherry is out today!
With thanks to Aurelia B Rowl for providing me with a copy of her book in return for an honest review and for inviting me to be a part of the launch day blitz.


It's time for a Release Day Blitz and Giveaway event, where corks aren't the only things being popped in celebration of Aurelia B. Rowl's newest release.

About the book...

Popping the Cherry

If you missed any of the exclusive teasers from the ten-day countdown, you can find them all here or by going to:


Buy it now...

Add to Goodreads
Mature Young Adult/New Adult fiction
Release date: 19 September 2013
Publisher: Carina (Harlequin UK)
ISBN: 978-1-472-01805-2

Nook UK (coming soon)
Kobo (coming soon)

About the author...

Aurelia B. Rowl lives on the edge of the Peak District with her very understanding husband, their two fantastic children, and their mad rescue mutt who doesn’t mind being used as a sounding post and source of inspiration. She regularly wows them all with her curious, hastily thrown together meals when she gets too caught up with her latest writing project... or five!... and she has developed the fine art of ignoring the housework.

Aurelia writes Young Adult/New Adult crossover fiction and contemporary romance. She is currently busy writing the standalone companion novels to both Popping the Cherry and Christmas is Cancelled.

To find out more about Aurelia, you can visit her website: or you can find her hanging out online, far too often, at the following:


To get the party started with a BANG, Aurelia B. Rowl has teamed up with several other Young Adult and New Adult authors to come up an awesome giveaway, with over twenty books in the Release Day Blitz prize kitty just waiting to be won.

For full details of the prizes, click here or go to:

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

My favourite places to read

This post is in some ways a no-brainer as I love to read pretty much anywhere.  After a bit of thought though I came up with my five favourite places to delve into a book.  Here goes...

1) Snuggled up on a chair
I think this is my favourite way to read.  Conventional and predictable but totally relaxing, I love to settle down with a book after a busy day. I wrap myself in a fluffy blanket and get transported to a faraway place through the pages of a book.  This is especially perfect on a dark night with rain hammering against the window-it feels indulgent and safe.  Even better with a bar of Dairy Milk.

2) On a train
I love reading on the move.  There is something magical about it, something that makes me think of a black and white film-the world whizzing past outside the window, another world whizzing around my mind.  It is a real pleasure to be whisked away in every sense.

3) In Bed
A wonderful way to unwind.  I either plump up the pillows behind me and lay back or else lie flat on my tummy with the book resting on my pillow.  It is rare a day goes by when I don't read in bed.

4) On the loo
This isn't exactly one of my favourite places to read, but I do value the peace and quiet the bathroom brings.  When my son is driving me crackers I will retreat there and read a few pages to unwind, solace from five minutes alone with a book in the smallest room.

5) In the park
I love finding a shaded spot on a sunny day, pulling my knees in towards me and reading.  Hearing the wind rustle the leaves on the trees, the gentle hubbub of people walking dogs or pushing buggies, life going on around me as I am sucked into a page-turner, only semi-aware of everyday life. 

I would love to hear from any blog readers about where they most like to read.  Feel free to comment below or tweet me @bookswithbunny.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Fortunately, the Milk...-Neil Gaiman

Fortunately, the Milk... is the latest offering from multi-award winning author Neil Gaiman.  Best known for Coraline, which has also been popularised on the big screen, Gaiman's latest offering is a romp of a tale involving pirates, a time travelling dinosaur and the magnificently named Wumpires.

This madcap adventure suggests that even something as mundane as fetching the breakfast milk has the potential to be fantastically unpredictable.  Dad tells the children that fetching the milk took so long because he was time travelling with dinosaurs and aliens, but they are sceptical of his elaborate explanation.   I know who I believe... 

Neil Gaiman's wild and witty tale is perfectly executed and complimented by Chris Riddell's wonderfully expressive illustrations.  Creative, original and never, ever predictable, this crazy tall tale will amuse and engage children and adults alike.

I really enjoyed reading Fortunately, the Milk... and was especially tickled by the 'say what you see' names for things.  I'm not generally a fan of the fantasy genre, and although this fits into that category it is also escapist fun and highly imaginative, reminiscent of the humorous classics of the late, great Roald Dahl.

I would highly recommend this book to boys and girls 7 years +.

Fortunately, the Milk... is published on 17th September by Bloomsbury Children's.


With many thanks to the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book.

Picnic-John Burningham

Picnic is a typical John Burningham picturebook.  Like Burningham's bestselling The Shopping Basket and Mr Gumpy's Outing, Picnic has a simple text.  And of course there are the illustrations.  Inimitable and immediately recognisable, Burningham's drawings are famous within genre (Raymond Briggs says they are 'completely original' works).  I must admit I'm not a huge fan of John Burningham's style, although children seem to be drawn to his books and they are always hugely popular at the nursery where I work.

The tale of 'boy' and 'girl' setting off on (surprise surprise) a picnic, the story tells of their encounters with animals that have a tendency to lose things.  The reader is then asked to spot the lost item in the picture.  However, this isn't a Where's Wally? type of book.  As Picnic is aimed at pre-schoolers, the lost items are easy to find, and I would say the book is more an introduction to basic vocabulary than a test of children's observational skills.

Picnic is a lovely book to read with young children at the end of the day. As the characters go to bed at the end of the story it is ideal for bedtime, and is a calm and pleasant read. 

Most suitable for children aged 1-4.

Picnic is out now, published by Jonathan Cape, and imprint of Random House Children's Publishers.


With thanks to the fabulous Jasmine for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Friday, 13 September 2013

A Bookcase Full of Treasure #1 - Roald Dahl Day celebration

In my new feature A Bookcase Full of Treasure I will share some of the books on my shelf that hold special memories.

Today is Roald Dahl Day. I have copies of every Roald Dahl book on my shelf; they all look a bit worse for wear.  Yellowed pages, dog-eared corners, deeply cracked spines.  The signs of a book that has been truly loved.  And loved they have been.

Firstly, I selected Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  My edition is the 1988 Puffin edition.  I wanted to talk about this as I clearly remember buying it.  Like many other schools, my junior school had a book club.  A few times a year we would be given a pamphlet full of books available to purchase, and I desperately wanted Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Although I always read a lot and had lots of books, most of the books I owned were second hand so the thought of choosing a title myself was a real thrill.  I was allowed to buy it (the RRP on the back states it was £1.95), but that meant a wait.  No instant gratification in this case! The orders were placed and paid for and two long weeks passed before delivery day.  The excitement when cardboard boxes full of brand new books arrived at school was immense.  Mr Richards, a fantastic teacher, allowed me and a friend to help him sort out the books and bag them up for each child to take at home time.  Knowing that one of the many copies of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was coming home with me was hugely satisfying.  I delighted in reading it for the first time, and have delighted in it many times since.  The blurb on the back of my edition says 'The Best Loved Children's Book Ever!' and they may well be right.  First published in 1964, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is still as popular as ever, the farcical humour thrilling for all generations.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory isn't my favourite Dahl book, let alone my favourite children's book.  Matilda, on the other hand, challenges on both counts.  One of the reasons I adore Matilda is that I remember it being released.  My generation was the first to be introduced to this children's classic, which fills me with a sense of joy.  First published in 1988, my edition is the 1989 Puffin edition.  I am pretty sure it was a 10th birthday present from my Gran and I have proudly labelled the inside of my edition to declare ownership. 

Why do I love Matilda?  Firstly, the protagonist reminded me of myself.  A bookish, inquisitive girl, I found Matilda to be charming, clever and defiant.  I wanted to have some of those qualities myself. The gentle Miss Honey seemed like a perfect and supportive teacher with fun teaching methods.  I still recite 'Mrs D, Mrs I, Mrs FFI, Mrs C, Mrs U, Mrs LTY' when spelling 'difficulty' despite no longer needing to-Dahl is deceptively educational as well as entertaining.  But the main reason I love Matilda? The formidable Miss Trunchbull.  Without a doubt one of the best book baddies around, the image of her throwing Amanda Thripp by her hair has stayed with me for life (aided by Quentin Blake's fabulous illustration).  Terrifying and yet captivating I was enthralled by her ferocious nature, the complete antithesis of the delightful Miss Honey.  A classic tale of good overcoming evil, Matilda is a book every child should own.

'The only movement from the reader was the lifting of the hand every now and then to turn over a page' Dahl observes in Matilda.  Books that captivate children are a gift, and the ability to create such books is also a gift.  I am indebted to Roald Dahl for creating books which I hold in my heart and mind, escapist children's fiction beyond compare.

Happy Roald Dahl Day. 

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Incoming #2

This week I have...

received for review...

A busier week of incoming books!

The Memory Box- Sarah Webb

Can you ever really forget your first love?
The Memory Box appealed to the side of me that is an emotional wreck.  I loved the blurb-the novel sounded like a real blub-fest which is exactly what I was looking for.  A good cry every now and then is so cathartic and it always feels that bit safer to let emotion out from behind the cover of a book (except when you are reading on public transport.  Then it just feels embarrassing.  When you get those snot bubbles from gulping in too much air between pitiful sobs-surely it isn't just me?!). 
A story encompassing the power of first love, The Memory Box follows Pandora Schuster at a difficult point in her life.  On the cusp of turning thirty, she is tested for a hereditary family illness.  This eye-opening process prompts Pandora to search for her ex-boyfriend and the father of her child, the deliciously named Frenchman Olivier Huppert.   On a trip to Paris with her girl-friends, Pandora seeks Olivier but things do not turn out as she had hoped.  With a heavy heart and the knowledge that her daughter will never know her father she begins to collate the memories of their relationship.  Pandora's box stirs up emotions that challenge her and cause her to reassess her current life. 
I found The Memory Box to be an easy read without being completely frivolous.  Touching on cancer, bereavement, lost love, financial hardship and stepfamilies, there are a lot of women who will be able to relate to the many aspects of life conveyed in this book.  Personally, I was especially affected by the emotionally charged letters throughout The Memory Box and that was where my eyes welled up with tears (although I managed to escape the snot bubbles, thankfully).
I did feel that Pandora's daughter, Iris, was portrayed as being much younger than her nine years.  That was the only thing that really irked me about the book as I thought she came across as being much younger and I didn't find her a very believable character.  However, I thought Pandora was real and likeable and I developed a bit of a literary crush on the idea of Olivier through Pandora's memories of him.  Overall, I found the friendships, family complexities and especially the romance in The Memory Box engaging and would recommend it to fans of Cecelia Ahern, Sophie Kinsella and Marian Keyes.
The Memory Box is out today, published by Macmillan.
With thanks to Macmillan for kindly providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.