Sunday, 22 February 2015

Tied Up With Love- Amelia Thorne BLOG TOUR

It's the Tied Up With Love blog tour!!!!

The Blurb

‘We’re from KMW. Do exactly as you’re told and you won’t get hurt...'
Being grabbed off the street, blind folded, tied up and thrown into a van was not what Izzy expected to happen when she stepped out the door that morning. But when an accidental kidnapping at the hands of the sexy Ethan Chase and his 'Kidnap My Wife' sexual fantasy business leads to just that, Izzy seizes the chance to turn her misfortune into a brilliant new job opportunity… Since then, life has been one big tangle of new client meetings, fake kidnapping pick-ups, and handling the temperamental, but drop dead gorgeous 'bad boy' Mr Chase. But, as liberating as being tied up in Ethan's life is, Izzy knows the time is fast approaching when she must make some decisions and take charge of her future. The only question is: will Ethan allow himself to be a part of it?

I didn't know what to expect from this book when agreeing to review it as part of the blog tour-I said yes because I've been interacting with Amelia on twitter for a while now and was keen to help spread the word about her latest release (you can find her  on twitter by searching @Amelia_Writes).  But it's fair to say I wasn't expecting what I got.  The 'tied up' clue in the title completely passed me by(obviously because I'm such an innocent) and I'd never have predicted the madcap world I was launched into from the pretty cover.

Readers are immediately thrown into a scenario where Izzy is whisked away by the Kidnap My Wife heavies, but it doesn't take long for it to become apparent that this isn't a book built around titillation or smut.  There are some raunchy scenes and there's plenty of sexual kindle was smoking with the sparks flying between Izzy and Ethan!  But I wasn't expecting a 'kidnap-my-wife-to-spice-up-our-sex-life' company to then become a book which is about so much more than sex.  I had preconceived ideas about what the plot would be and I was totally wrong. 

I'd expected bondage and experimental sex, when in reality Tied Up With Love falls firmly within the boundaries of humorous romance rather than erotica.  It focuses on community life.  Friendship.  Family.  And it has a serious moral at the heart of it, one simple lesson that's tied up in every plot and subplot- not to judge others

This makes it sound more heavy going than it is.  It's actually really witty and sharp, a feisty ball-of-fire of a book.  Tied Up With Love is full of one liners and Izzy is a strong protagonist (both in her ability to use her fists and her determined character)- she's a memorable heroine.  And Ethan...not the kind of man I'd usually go for but there's something in him which I fell for.  He comes across as rough and ready but there's a soft centre in there, a vulnerability hidden inside.  I wanted him and Izzy to stop fighting the feelings and just admit they needed each other!  But with two headstrong characters it's always going to be a battle of pride and willpower...

This was a book which seemed to speed along, there's no opportunity to get bored or skim-read because it hurtles along at pace.  It's also fresh and modern, totally different to anything else out there at the moment.  Fantastically fun!

Friday, 13 February 2015

Poppy Does Paris- Nicola Doherty

The Blurb
The first instalment in this hilarious, romantic and unputdownable five-part series. Perfect for fans of Lindsey Kelk's I Heart... novels.
Paris. City of love, city of romance. The last place you want to go to on a work trip when you're in the middle of an epic dry spell. But that's where Poppy is headed, along with her colleague Charlie, who's shallow and annoying but very, very good-looking. During a white-wine-fuelled session with her friend Alice, Poppy concocts the perfect plan: work by day, and have some no-strings fun with Charlie by night. Of course, it might prove a little more complicated than that, but it's nothing Poppy can't handle - or is it?

Girls on Tour is an irresistible series of interlinked stories about four friends, ordinary girls who have extraordinary fun in faraway places. Expect the unexpected, the utterly hilarious and unforgettable, on this rollercoaster ride of love, laughs, surprises and sparks. You have a VIP pass to join each girl's adventure, so pack your bags and buckle your seatbelts, because just about anything is possible...

The Review

Poppy Does Paris is book one of the Girls on Tour series and I have to say that since reading it I'm gagging for more!  It's laugh-out-loud funny.  It's snappy.  It's sassy.  But most of all it feels relevant and relatable.

When the book opened with Poppy's dating profile I wasn't sure if it was my kind of thing.  I've been with the same man for sixteen years, heck, online dating wasn't even a thing back when I was single (although I did meet my husband online.  Maybe, for once in my life, I was a pioneer of sorts).  Anyway, it didn't take long for me to be won over by the chatty, conversational writing style and beautifully descriptive writing.  I literally said 'YES!' out loud on a crowded bus when I read the descriptions of the Paris.  And European undergrounds do have that 'almost flowery [smell] with base notes of hot metal.'  I was there.  I didn't just feel like I was there, I am convinced, for the time it took to read the book, I WAS THERE.

Poppy was a likable character, a bit unsure but determined.  And I found the 'who will she choose?' plot fun and engaging.  Publicist Charlie, who seems a bit of a lad or classy winer-and-diner author Jonathan?  They are polar opposites, and for a while I really couldn't decide which team I was on.  But by the end?  Let's just say I had a definite favourite and was delighted with the ending!

The only fault, if you can call it that, is that it was over far too quickly.  I wanted more than this novella length read! 

Nicola Doherty needs to be talked about.  There is absolutely no reason why she can't be one of the leading voices in contemporary women's fiction, and I for one am rooting for her.  And downloading the rest of the series pronto to boot.

Poppy Does Paris is out now, published by Headline Review. 

With thanks to the publisher who provided me with a galley copy of this book in return for my honest opinion.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Secrets, Schemes and Sewing Machines- Katy Cannon BLOG TOUR

I am absolutely delighted to be today's stop on Katy Cannon's blog tour for her new release Secrets, Schemes and Sewing Machines.  This was a lovely read, a fun romance aimed at the teen market, and I'm thrilled to be able to share my review today.

The Blurb

Secrets, Schemes and Sewing Machines is the companion novel to Katy Cannon's delicious teen read, Love, Lies and Lemon Pies. Grace had a plan for this year - and it didn't involve learning to sew. But when her world is turned upside down by a family secret, everything changes. Grace's family is in need of patching up and she's trying to focus on what really matters. But when new boy Connor appears on the scene, it doesn't make things any easier. She's desperate to prove to him that she's not a drama queen - but why is what Connor thinks so important?

Katy Cannon is a hot new voice in Young Adult fiction, writing contemporary romance that is perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Louise Rennison.

The Review

Firstly, although Secrets, Schemes and Sewing Machines is marketed as a 'companion novel' and it's obvious throughout the book that events in Katy Cannon's previous release are being alluded to, it can definitely be enjoyed as a stand alone.  I'd not read Love, Lies and Lemon Pies (but I definitely will be!) and I didn't feel remotely short-changed or as though I was missing out on anything I needed to know to appreciate the story.

And the story- it was so sweet!  Katy Cannon has created a humorous, romantic story much like the ones I enjoyed as a teenager.  That's not to say it's in any way dated- it's fresh, contemporary and believable- but it is more a 'will they/won't they', with tensions and fall outs between the characters than some of the other releases out there right now.

Drama-mad protagonist Grace is having a tough time adjusting to changes at home.  She hasn't got the drive to work hard at anything at the moment, not even turning up at the auditions for the school production of Much Ado About Nothing.  But she wants that lead role and in a bid to win over her drama teacher, Grace offers to be the wardrobe manager for the production.  There's just one problem- she can't really sew. 

Grace sets about learning the skills she needs to pull this off, but infuriating-yet-gorgeous Connor is a, he knows she's doing this for her own gain not the good of the drama club.  What follows is a typical love/hate relationship, although I have to admit I was rooting for Grace and Connor from the start. Grace is stubborn and a bit of a princess at times, Connor can be a know-all and thinks he is better than everyone else. I liked that they had these minor flaws.  Neither of them are perfect and they can both be argumentative and at times unpleasant, but as the story progresses it becomes apparent that both characters are finding it hard to adapt to changes within their respective families.  They have more in common than they'd like to think...

This book brought back many happy memories of school drama productions and all the shenanigans that went with them.  I'm not the target audience by any means, but I found myself turning the pages and wanting to know what happened next with their families, the production and of course Grace and Connor's relationship. 

And as a bonus for anyone inspired to become a little bit more crafty (in the best possible way) there are sewing projects throughout the book.  From simple hearts to t-shirt dresses and aprons, if you have an inclination towards the creative, you will be in your element.

I'm sure Secrets, Schemes and Sewing Machines will appeal to readers in their early teens, especially fans of romance.  It is available now, just in time for Valentine's Day.

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

You can join in the fun on twitter using the hashtag #Grace4Connor

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Skating at Somerset House- Nikki Moore

The Blurb

The first short story in the fun & flirty #LoveLondon series from exciting new chick lit author Nikki Moore!

There’s nothing Holly Winterlake loves more than Christmas and skating, so working as an Ice Marshall at London's Somerset House is a dream come true.
Noel Summerford hates the festive season and is a disaster on the ice, so taking his godson to Somerset House is his idea of the nightmare before Christmas!
Things are bound to get interesting when these two collide…
With a forty foot Christmas tree, an assortment of well meaning friends and relatives, and a mad chocolate Labrador, will this festive season be one to remember … or forget?

The Review

I first heard of Nikki Moore when I read the Be My Valentine short story collection last year.  I was immediately a huge fan of her writing (you can read what I thought here ), and was thrilled to hear Harper Impulse were publishing a collection of her novellas.  The Love London series starts with Skating at Somerset House and it's fair to say this first instalment was worth the wait.  Nikki Moore writes books I find really easy to read, her style is natural and flowing with a fast paced dialogue.

Noel, the male lead, is a bit of a grumpy Grinch-reluctantly taking his godson ice skating at the beautiful Somerset House in the run up to Christmas.  However, it doesn't take long for him to notice Holly Winterlake, a lover of all things festive.  Formerly a star skater, now a marshall on the ice rink, Holly is also attracted to Noel. They might not share a love of Christmas, but as they get to know each other better over luxury hot chocolates it's obviously the start of something special.

The story is a bit of a When Harry Met Sally- the reader knows love is blooming before the characters do- and despite the frosty, winter setting it's a cosy read that left me with a warm and fuzzy feeling inside.  I wasn't feeling well when I read this and it gave me a boost-so much so that I had to tweet the author to say thank you for perking me up!  Personally, I wasn't keen on both the main characters having wintery names, but other than that it was pretty darn perfect. 

This is a fun, festive read that has definitely whetted my appetite for the rest of the series!

I received a galley copy of this book in return for an honest review.


Sunday, 1 February 2015

The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes- Anna McPartlin

The Blurb

Here is a truth that can’t be escaped: for Mia ‘Rabbit’ Hayes, life is coming to an end . . .

Rabbit Hayes loves her life, ordinary as it is, and the extraordinary people in it.

She loves her spirited daughter, Juliet; her colourful, unruly family; the only man in her big heart, Johnny Faye.

But it turns out the world has other plans for Rabbit, and she’s OK with that. Because she has plans for the world too, and only a handful of days left to make them happen.

Here is a truth that won’t be forgotten: this is a story about laughing through life’s surprises and finding the joy in every moment.

The Review

I've not read any of Anna McPartlin's previous novels before, but have heard really positive things from other bloggers. However, The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes seems to have really catapulted Anna McPartlin to the next level- the novel has been selected as a Richard and Judy Bookclub choice, which has thrust this book to centre stage.  And I can see why.  It's perfect book group fodder with its delicate subject matter.

I must admit I was a bit worried before reading this one.  A book about a mother dying of cancer didn't sound the most uplifting, and as someone who lost a parent at a young age I wondered if Rabbit's daughter Juliet's story might hit a bit too close to home.  I needn't have worried.  I'm not going to say it wasn't touching, and emotive, and downright painful to read in places.  But Anna McPartlin walks the delicate line between humour and heartfelt like a tightrope walker carefully balancing on a high wire.  Just when it starts to get a bit maudlin there's a one liner which will bring a smile to your face, and as you think you're enjoying the romantic elements of the story or getting to know the characters in more depth- WHAM- you're thrown back into turmoil.  It's a cliché much used, but this is a rollercoaster ride of a tale.

One of the major themes in The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes is motherhood.  Rabbit doesn't want to die leaving her adolescent daughter.  She's angry about all the milestones she'll miss out on seeing.  And she worries about who'll be the best guardian for her only child when she's gone.  On the other hand we're shown motherhood through the eyes of Rabbit's own mother, a feisty, determined, potty-mouthed woman who refuses to believe there is no cure for her daughter.  It is a reminder that motherhood is a lifelong journey, one for which we cannot truly prepare.  This aspect of the book is probably the one which will stay with me the most, especially the out and out desperation and helplessness felt by both the mothers.

The flashbacks to Rabbit's happy youth helping out with sound engineering for her brother's band were welcome relief from the terminal illness story in the present day, and also serve to  give the reader a deeper insight into the characters and their backstory.  The young romance is tender and true, believable and relatable.

It had me hooked from the get-go.  Highly recommended.
With thanks to the publisher for providing me with a galley copy of this book in return for an honest review.

The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes is out now in paperback, published by Transworld.