Saturday, 30 May 2015

Harper Impulse Readathon #HIReadathon

Following on from the success of Harper Impulse Fortnight (you can catch up on all the fun by following the #HIFortnight hashtag on twitter), I'm very excited to announce the Harper Impulse Readathon!

There's a huge community of romance readers out there, and many are discovering the diversity of the Harper Impulse imprint.  With the Harper Collins brand behind them, Harper Impulse releases are well written, innovative romances of all lengths- there are short stories, novellas, novels, series- and a wide range of subgenres.  There is truly something for everyone!

So, how can you get involved?

- Choose the Harper Impulse books you'd like to read.  There's a complete list of Harper Impulse publications on Goodreads (make sure you look at both pages!)

- Join in the chat using the hashtag #HIReadathon on twitter or on the #HIReadathon facebook page.  This is the perfect way to connect with readers/reviewers/authors, share recommendations, and when the time comes, share your reviews.

-During the readathon (1st-14th August 2015), read and review as many Harper Impulse books as you can!  Amazon, Goodreads, twitter, facebook, your own blog...share your thoughts anywhere and everywhere!

The Harper Impulse Readathon begins on August 1st and runs for a fortnight- two whole weeks of summer lovin' which I guarantee will have you a blast!  It's open to everyone, so why not get involved?

With thanks to Angela Campbell for designing the official banner of the #HIReadathon.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Finding Audrey- Sophie Kinsella

The Blurb
Audrey can't leave the house. she can't even take off her dark glasses inside the house.

Then her brother's friend Linus stumbles into her life. With his friendly, orange-slice smile and his funny notes, he starts to entice Audrey out again - well, Starbucks is a start.And with Linus at her side, Audrey feels like she can do the things she'd thought were too scary. Suddenly, finding her way back to the real world seems achievable.

Be prepared to laugh, dream and hope with Audrey as she learns that even when you feel like you have lost yourself, love can still find you . . .

The Review

I really wanted to love this book.  Firstly, because it's a YA book about mental health, and the more of those that are out there, the better.  So many young people (and not so young people too) experience anxiety and depression and it's really, really important that protagonists also face these challenges, and overcome them.  The second reason I wanted to love this was because of Sophie Kinsella.  I've been a fan of her writing for many years and thought her fast-paced narrative and distinctive voice would translate well to the YA market.

Audrey is a likeable character.  She's definitely slightly kooky, and not purely because of how her experiences have affected her outlook.  She's part of a crazy family for one thing.  Her Mum lives her life by how the Daily Mail portrays 'normal' and her elder brother Frank believes he can make a living as a professional gamer on the international circuit. 

It's through Frank's love of gaming that Audrey begins to gain confidence.  Slowly and cautiously, she befriends Linus, one of Frank's 'team'.  He understands her, patiently giving her the time and space to reach out when she feels able.  It's touching to read their story and see how Audrey grows in her ability to communicate, trust and, ultimately, love.

So, the story itself was fine.  And I found myself racing through the book, so it obviously had plenty of the trademark zippy dialogue, off-beat characters and slapstick humour for which Kinsella has made her name in the romcom market.

Unfortunately, I just couldn't get past one rather annoying feature- although Finding Audrey is set in Britain, it really does read as though it's American, particularly in the dialogue.  If it was only in some sections, I might have been able to look beyond it, but there were times where I really had to remind myself that this was UKYA.  Maybe it's deliberately been given an American feel to appeal to the US market, I don't know.   But it didn't sit right with me, and to some extent spoilt my enjoyment of Sophie Kinsella's otherwise successful journey into a new genre.

Overall, I'd probably still recommend this book, especially to teen readers.  However, I can't help but wish it had a strong British identity and a traditionally English voice to match the plot.  I didn't love this one...but I'm sure it'll do well.

Finding Audrey is released on June 4th, published by Doubleday.

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

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Waiting on Wednesday...The Girls- Lisa Jewell

I love Lisa Jewell.  She writes the most vivid characters out there who always capture my heart.  Add to that a magical way with words that few authors can rival, and that is why, this week The Girls is my choice for Waiting on Wednesday, the weekly meme thought up by Breaking the Spine.
 I've loved watching Lisa's writing develop over many years now, and this sounds like a darker, more psychological novel than her previous releases.  I can't wait to read it!
The Blurb

Dark secrets, a devastating mystery and the games people play: the gripping new novel from the bestselling author of The House We Grew Up In and The Third Wife.

You live on a picturesque communal garden square, an oasis in urban London where your children run free, in and out of other people’s houses.

You’ve known your neighbours for years and you trust them. Implicitly.

You think your children are safe.

But are they really?

Midsummer night: a thirteen-year-old girl is found unconscious in a dark corner of the garden square. What really happened to her? And who is responsible?

Utterly believable characters, a gripping story and a dark secret buried at its core: this is Lisa Jewell at her heart-stopping best. 

The Girls is released on 2nd July 2015, published by Century.  Ebook and hardback preorders are now being taken.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

All I Know Now- Carrie Hope Fletcher

The Blurb

We all know that growing up is hard to do, and sometimes the only thing that makes it better are the reassuring words of someone who has walked that bumpy road just a few steps ahead of you and somehow ended up as a fully-functioning adult. Carrie Hope Fletcher is that person. Thanks to her phenomenally popular YouTube videos, Carrie has become an 'honorary big sister' to hundreds of thousands of young people who turn to her for advice, friendship and, most of all, the knowledge that things will get better.

Carrie has created a safe and positive space for young people to connect and share their hopes and concerns online, and now she will share her most personal thoughts and experiences in her first book, ALL I KNOW NOW. It includes Carrie's thoughts on some of the topics she's asked about most regularly: bullying, body image, relationships and perhaps the scariest question of all: what does the future hold for me? With warmth, wit and a sprinkling of hard-won wisdom, Carrie will provide the essential tools for growing up gracefully . . . most of the time.

The Review

I'm really not the target audience for this book.  I know I say that a lot, especially when it comes to YA fiction, but this is different.  This book is non-fiction, aimed almost exclusively at the teen market. 

I'm a married woman. 

I'm a mum. 

I have worked in the same field for seventeen years. 

Surely I should have figured life out a bit by now?!  That I purchased All I Know Now for myself proves that's not the case... 

I know I'm not alone in being an older reader of this book.  Yes, a lot of Carrie's fans (or 'Hopefuls') fall into the teen age bracket, but she's also won a host of older fans for her honest, open approach, her good nature and humour, and her positivity.  She's a vlogger with a difference- she doesn't talk exclusively about fashion, or make up, or books.  Instead, she uses her vlog, tumblr and twitter to connect with fans and answer their questions, sharing her own experiences and reinforcing that you need never think you have no one who cares.  I suppose in some ways she's an agony aunt or a wise older sister, someone who's got your back and has a waiting ear to listen to your problems.

All I Know Now is just like her vlog, but in book form.  It's chatty, and easy to read, and it's mostly a very positive and upbeat collection of stories that remind you you're stronger than you think.  Each chapter is a life lesson, something to mull over whilst candidly sharing Carrie's personal stories. 

This book is a perfect way for Carrie to impart what she's learnt.  She shares her own experiences of notable milestones and those difficult adolescent moments- bullying, peer pressure, sex, relationships, self confidence- and because it's written in Carrie's typically chatty style, it makes you feel like you're listening to a friend, giving you advice over a pot of tea and a slice of Victoria sponge, not just flicking pages in a book. 

I read this book when I had a lot on my mind, and Carrie's words were genuinely comforting to me.  They were a big, warm blanket which made me feel safe. Thank you for that, Ms Fletcher.

So, to wrap up this review, I want to say that whatever your age, whatever your outlook, whatever your can learn from this book.  It encourages introspection and self awareness, and is a perfect way to help you reassess what is important to you.  Not to anyone else, YOU. 

I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. 

Empower yourself.  Buy it.

All I Know Now is out now in ebook and paperback, published by Sphere.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Wellies and Westies- Cressida McLaughlin

The Blurb

Hilarious, touching and fun, Primrose Terrace will appeal to dog lovers everywhere and fans of Lucy Diamond, Cathy Bramley and Trisha Ashley.

Catherine ‘Cat’ Palmer realises, too late, that bringing an adorable puppy into work at the local nursery was a bad idea, especially after the ensuing chaos gets her the sack.

Determined to turn a negative into a positive, Cat decides this is the perfect opportunity to get her dog-walking business off the ground with the help of her flatmates, Polly and Joe. After all, Primrose Terrace where she lives, is full of home-alone hounds…

Wellies and Westies is the first part of a serialized novel told in four parts – all set in Primrose Terrace.

The Review

I was so delighted when Wellies and Westies popped up on my kindle!  It was one of my most anticipated releases of the Spring and I was sure I'd love it.  After all, who doesn't love a westie?  They're one of the cutest dog breeds around.  I also loved the cover, with its bright, fresh colours, perfect for the season and that subtle hint of romance with the male and female feet heading towards each other. 

The story itself was cute- Cat has moved to a new area and taken a job at a nursery.  She knows it's not the right place for her, but on a practical level it's a real blow when she gets the sack-she's still got her bills to pay, after all.  So, she uses her initiative, and with the encouragement of her friends Polly and Joe her new business 'Pooch Promenade' is born. 

Cat's new career is one aspect of this novella, but her love life is another.  She keeps running into Mark and his collie in the neighbourhood when she's out walking the dogs, but he's hard to fathom.  The owner of the local coffee shop has suspicions he's up to no good, and is he romantically involved with the minor celebrity who lives down the road?

I didn't take to Mark at all, I'm sorry to say.  He gave me the willies with his arrogant nature and borderline slimy flirting.  Cat's flatmate Joe on the other hand-he was much more my type.  I'm looking forward to finding out more about him and his well-toned abs in the next book...

But Wellies and Westies introduces not just the human characters, because there are canine ones too-and they really are characters in their own right.  I'm definitely dog broody as a result of reading this.  Disco is an absolute charmer of a dog! 

Cressida McLaughlin has an easy-to-read writing style and a chatty and engaging voice, which reminded me of Sophie Kinsella.  I can absolutely see why she's so highly regarded within the genre and I'm sure this series is going to be a great platform for her to build her readership.

Overall, I really enjoyed this novella, my only complaint being that it seemed to end too abruptly.  The next instalment of Primrose Terrace is out next month, and I can't help but wonder if it would have worked better if the publisher had released this series as a full length.  That said, I'm certainly going to keep reading and look forward to Sunshine and Spaniels' release on June 18th.

Wellies and Westies is out now in ebook format, published by Harper.
With thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Somewhere Only We Know- Erin Lawless

The Blurb

‘Engaging modern day romantic fiction, that will make you smile all the way through.’ – Bestselling Irish author Carmel Harrington

Boy meets girl…

Alex Bradley can't help but feel that life is rather passing him by. And not just life – promotions, invitations, romance; the girl he loves only has eyes for his flatmate and his 9-5 job as the Immigration department skivvy is slowly numbing his soul. Until he meets Nadia.

Girl meets boy…

Nadia Osipova is running out of time. With no money, no lawyer and a totally fictitious boyfriend, she’s got one last summer and one last appeal before the British government deport her back to Russia.

Girl gets deported?

It's going to be a bumpy ride, one she's dragging her new friend Alex along for. As Nadia races through a list of all her favourite London adventures, for what may be the last time, Alex can’t help but start to see the city, and his life, through Nadia’s eyes.

From hazy summer days on the Common and heady nights in Soho’s basement bars, to twilight walks along the Southbank, will Alex realise what he’s got before it’s too late?

Funny, addictive and always honest, this is a love letter to London, friendship and the unexpected from the author of the bestselling The Best Thing I Never Had. 

The Review
At the back end of 2013, I was invited to take part in a blog tour for a book by a debut author.  I wasn't told much about it; only that it was contemporary romance and centred around a group of friends at university.  Despite being up to my eyes in Advent-ures in Fiction, my annual celebration of festive books that runs throughout December, I said yes.  And I'm so glad I did, because that book, The Best Thing I Never Had, was one of my favourite reads not just of that year, but ever.
I've been impatiently waiting for a new book from Erin Lawless for the past eighteen months.  I've hounded the poor girl with tweets asking questions, like 'what's the new book called?', 'when's it out?', 'can't you just give me some teensy hints about what the characters are like?'
And now, finally, I'm able to say I've read it, and I love it just as much as The Best Thing I Never Had. It is powerful and emotive, it made me laugh, and cry, and feel.
Somewhere Only We Know is told from the viewpoints of two central characters- Alex, who works in the immigration department, and Nadia, who is waiting for the government to make a decision about whether or not she can stay in the UK.  The pair start out as strangers, but from the moment Alex lays eyes on Nadia's application he takes a shine to this vivacious girl, someone who has friends fighting for her to be granted permission to stay, someone who loves British life, who has grabbed London by the scruff of the neck and desperately tried to experience all that the city has to offer.
I'll admit it.  At the start of the book Alex was a bit irritating. He comes across as a bit of a wimp.  He's a games console geek who spends most nights playing gooseberry and feeling a bit jealous, because his best friend's going out with the girl he himself fancies.
But, when Alex and Nadia's paths coincidentally cross, he's forced out of his shell.  Alex tries new things, grows in confidence and becomes someone more fun-loving.  More laid back.  More like Nadia.
Their friendship grows and soon they are spending more and more time together.  What they have together is enviable and the easy openness Nadia and Alex share floods off the page.  Honestly, this book gave me so many warm and fuzzies, it's untrue! 
Of course, what happens in the future depends on whether Nadia will be given Indefinite Leave to Remain and be able to stay in London.  If she has to return to Russia, she'll be leaving not just Alex, but her friends Holly, Caro and Ledge, who are still backing her application with a desperate, but empty, hope.
I cried during the opening chapters and I wept at the end.  This book was devastatingly brilliant, and the warmth of Alex and Nadia's relationship radiated off every page.  It's the kind of book that makes you want to tell those you love just how special they are to you and to wrap them in a bear hug and never, ever let go.
Erin Lawless- you've done it again.  Somewhere Only We Know is an absolute triumph.  From now on, whenever I'm asked for my favourite authors your name is going to be right up there.
So, I'd better head off to twitter because I've got just one more long until book three's released?!
Somewhere Only We Know is released in ebook format on June 11th 2015 and in paperback 16th July 2015, published by Harper Collins' digital first romance imprint Harper Impulse.
With thanks to the author and publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Cover reveal for This Is One Moment by Mila Gray

Mila Gray has an army of fans, and they'll all be excited today as it's time for the cover for her next release This is One Moment to be revealed on blogs all over the world!
The Blurb

A forbidden romance.

A wounded Marine who thinks he's beyond saving.

A girl who's determined to prove him wrong.

Didi Monroe's waited her whole life for the type of romance you see in the movies, so when Hollywood heartthrob Zac Ridgemont sweeps her off her feet, Didi believes she might finally have met the one.

While Zac's away filming for the summer, Didi begins her internship at a military hospital in California. There, she meets wounded Marine Noel Walker. Frustrated on the outside and broken on the inside, Walker's a pain-in-the-ass patient who refuses all help.

Yet Didi can't help but be drawn to him, and though he's strictly out of bounds it soon becomes impossible to ignore the sparks flying between them.

As the attraction simmers into dangerous territory, Didi finds herself falling hard for a man she knows is going to break her heart. Because Walker doesn't believe in love or happy ever afters. So what possible future can there be?

Then tragedy hits, shattering both their worlds, and Didi is forced to choose between fighting for love or merely falling for the illusion of it.

This is One Moment is released on 11th September 2015, published by Pan.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Waiting on Wednesday...Somewhere Only We Know- Erin Lawless

This is my first ever Waiting on Wednesday, a weekly feature created by Breaking the Spine.  It's the perfect opportunity to share excitement about upcoming releases!

My first choice is Somewhere Only We Know by Erin Lawless.  I loved Erin's last book The Best Thing I Never Had and it's felt like a long wait for this next release!

The Blurb

‘Engaging modern day romantic fiction, that will make you smile all the way through.’ – Bestselling Irish author Carmel Harrington

Boy meets girl…

Alex Bradley can't help but feel that life is rather passing him by. And not just life – promotions, invitations, romance; the girl he loves only has eyes for his flatmate and his 9-5 job as the Immigration department skivvy is slowly numbing his soul. Until he meets Nadia.

Girl meets boy…

Nadia Osipova is running out of time. With no money, no lawyer and a totally fictitious boyfriend, she’s got one last summer and one last appeal before the British government deport her back to Russia.

Girl gets deported?

It's going to be a bumpy ride, one she's dragging her new friend Alex along for. As Nadia races through a list of all her favourite London adventures, for what may be the last time, Alex can’t help but start to see the city, and his life, through Nadia’s eyes.

From hazy summer days on the Common and heady nights in Soho’s basement bars, to twilight walks along the Southbank, will Alex realise what he’s got before it’s too late?

Funny, addictive and always honest, this is a love letter to London, friendship and the unexpected from the author of the bestselling The Best Thing I Never Had.

Somewhere Only We Know is released in ebook format on June 11th, published by Harper Impulse.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Strawberries at Wimbledon- Nikki Moore

The Blurb

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

The one that got away?

Sipping Pimms and eating fresh strawberries at Wimbledon are the perfect start to the British summer for Rayne. Immersed in her career as a journalist in the City, she's been too busy and distracted to give men – or other outside interests – much of a chance lately. That's something her friend Lily thinks she should correct, coming up with the perfect ‘sex with an ex’ solution – much to the amusement of the crowd on Centre Court!

When Rayne runs into old flame Adam, former good guy who is now all grown up with a hint of bad boy about him, it's a tempting thought. But is that such a good idea, when she knows that four years ago, she broke his heart?

Back from travelling the world and settling into running the family business, Adam never expected to see his university girlfriend again. And he definitely didn't think he would still be angry with her for running away, or that she would still have the same stunning effect on him. But she does, so maybe the perfect way to get her out of his dreams and from under his skin, is to have a hot sex-filled night with her? The only trouble is, one night might not be enough…

First love – can you ever go back?

The Review

I think I'm one of Nikki Moore's biggest fans, and as the last short in her #LoveLondon series was released on Thursday I knew I'd be glued to my kindle to fall in love with another supercute couple.

This time it was Rayne and Adam, old flames from their uni days who find themselves coincidentally sat together at Wimbledon.  I'm a fan of the 'the one that got away' trope, so expected to be reeled in by their story, and I wasn't wrong.  Strawberries at Wimbledon is told in the present day with flashbacks to scenes from university.  At times I had to concentrate to remind myself which time frame I was in, but mostly this was obvious by what was happening around them and the way the characters were behaving.

Rayne was fabulous, I could completely relate to her.  She's fragile and complex in one way, yet still a strong young woman with a fighting spirit.  Her friendship with Lily is an easy one and I loved that- it made me think of some of my own girlfriends who I know would be there for me through thick and thin, being honest and supportive.  I could happily have read a full length book about these two and their escapades (prequel, maybe?!)

Adam, on the other hand, didn't immediately strike me as my usual kind of hero.  He was a little bit more rough around the edges than my usual type (both in books and real life!) but as the story developed I had a greater understanding about events in his own life which made him like he was. As a character though he wasn't ever going to be challenging for one of my book boyfriends, he came across as too standoffish and spoilt for my liking in the sections set during university.  However, the modern day Adam was much more my kind of man, so maybe I could be swayed...

He might not be the sort of guy I'd go for, but that certainly doesn't mean I wasn't rooting for him and Rayne-after all, I love a love story!  This one was a bit more angsty than the rest of the series though, I felt like I'd been through the mill by the end and I'd swallowed down the lump in my throat on more than one occasion.  I'd been angry and emotional and I'd laughed at the more light hearted moments.  There was a bit of everything crammed into this novella.

I cannot emphasise enough how good a writer Nikki Moore is.  She creates characters with hidden depths and slowly reveals them to the reader in a delicate way, peeling back the layers until their true self is laid bare.  Honestly, the writing style is impeccable. 

I'm now counting down the sleeps until the release of the final book in the series (40 at the time of writing!), when the full length novel Picnics in Hyde Park is released next month.  Although how I'll fill the void left by this series is something I've not yet figured out an answer to.

Strawberries at Wimbledon is out now, published by Harper Impulse.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Flashback Friday- reliving the awesomeness that was #HIFortnight

When I first approached Charlotte Ledger of Harper Impulse about the possibility of organising a week devoted to reading and reviewing Harper Impulse books and spotlighting authors on Books with Bunny, she was enthusiastic about the idea.  She put out the feelers for me and fed back saying the authors thought it sounded a fun way to showcase the imprint and share the love for romantic fiction.  It was going to happen!

Before long I had so many authors willing to write guest posts, offer prizes for giveaways and answer all kinds of questions that I knew this was going to be big, too big to happen in one week, and too big for me to run on my own!  I mentioned the idea of a fortnight devoted to Harper Impulse on twitter and the wonderful blogging community rose to the challenge and offered their support of the event- I blooming love blogging!

So, a small idea about a feature on my blog became a big event within the romance/women's fiction blogging community!  Woohoo!

What followed was a celebration of romantic fiction of all subgenres, and as a result my reading list has grown immensely and I feel I know the deepest darkest crushes of pretty much all the authors ;)

Altogether there were over 140 blog posts linked to the #HIFortnight hashtag, and quite possibly more posts besides that I've not stumbled across.  How amazing is that?

Many thanks to all the authors and staff at Harper Impulse and to the bloggers who took part (takes a deep breath before listing them all!)- Star Crossed Reviews, The Book Trail, Little Northern Soul, Alba in Bookland, Rachel's Random Reads, Chick Lit Chloe, Comet Babe's Books, Bookaholic Confessions, Reviewed The Book, Sincerely Book Angels, Librarian Lavender- Suze Likes, Loves, Finds and Dreams, Afternoon Bookery, Sky's Book Corner, A Page of Fictional Love, Paris Baker's Book Nook, Chick Lit Love, Ailish's Book Reviews, The Perks of Being a Bookseller, Chris Hill Author,Zili in the Sky , I Heart Chicklit, Becca's Books, French Village Diaries,  and the blogs of Harper Impulse authors Eve Devon, Teresa Morgan, Georgia Hill, Lori Connelly, Wendy Lou Jones, Carmel Harrington and Angela Campbell.


I am so pleased to have played a small part in spreading the word about Harper Impulse, who really are one of the most diverse romance imprints around.  Find out more on their website,

And if you love romance and fancy getting involved in the next Harper Impulse event,  keep an eye on the #HIReadathon hashtag for details of the Summer Lovin' Harper Impulse Readathon, coming your way this summer!

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

The Trouble with Mojitos- Romy Sommer

The Blurb

Turquoise blue waters. Sandy white beaches. Mojitos... Film location scout Kenzie Cole has found herself in paradise. Working in the Caribbean for a week is just what she needs to escape the long line of exes in her closet. Though the last thing she expects is to be picked up at the resort bar by a disgraced former Prince!

Luckily for Kenzie, exile is suiting the man formerly known as Prince Fredrik very well. And it’s not long before his rugged, pirate charm is proving hard to resist.

But Rik’s been spending his time in paradise exorcising demons of his own and he has danger written all over him. If Kenzie was sensible she’d run a mile instead of lose herself to lust - although, they do say sometimes you have to get lost before you can be found....

The Review

I'm writing this review as the sun shines over my city, day one of a mini heatwave of sorts if the weather forecasters are to be believed.  And The Trouble with Mojitos is the sort of book to enjoy on a lazy summer day, that's for sure.

So, why should you be putting it in your suitcase this summer?

Firstly, the settings. What's not to love about deserted beaches with waterfalls spilling down a rock face?  Or stunning palaces with baroque architecture?  The way Romy Sommer writes these places, they are easy to envisage, and although I was reading from my battered sofa, I felt like I was transported to somewhere far more exotic.  This would be a perfect beach or poolside read, even better with a cocktail (mojito?) on the side.  And if, like me, you're at home surrounded by dirty pots and piles of ironing, what better place is there to escape to than an idyllic island?

The characters were interesting too.  I fell head over heels in love with Rik from the get-go, which was quite strange as the opening scenes didn't paint him in the most flattering light!  But there was a definite charm, and as the story wore on it became more and more apparent that he was nigh on the perfect hero. I couldn't fangirl harder for him if I tried.  A prince who could pass for a pirate- yum yum, indeed.

Kenzie, the female protagonist, was a bit harder to get the measure of.  Whilst we learn about her job I felt I never really knew her that well as a character, and although I liked her it was as though she had a barrier up.  As it turns out she does have a pretty big secret of her own...

There are a fair few sex scenes which will get you fanning yourself with your sunhat if that's your scene, and the plot itself held my attention.  I wanted to find out the details behind why Rik was no longer in the royal household and also whether Kenzie would be able to impress her boss and boast the perfect film location for the next blockbuster smash!

However, the highlight is Romy Sommer's engaging voice which kept me hitting the next page button on my kindle.  This book was just so readable

The Trouble with Mojitos is actually the second book in the Westerwald series, and I haven't read the first.  But I can tell you now, I definitely will be.  Firstly, because I want to see if there are any more glimpses of the freshest prince around, and secondly, after the massive hint about what could happen in the next book I am NEEDING to know just why things ended as they did.

The Trouble with Mojitos is out now, published by Harper Impulse.
With thanks to the publisher who provided me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Romy Sommer recently wrote an exclusive guest post around the theme 'Should you write what you know?' for Books with Bunny.  You can read that article here.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Research?!- A Guest Post by Jane Lovering

I'm absolutely chuffed to bits to be able to welcome Jane Lovering to Books with Bunny today.  I read and enjoyed Hubble Bubble a few years ago, and since then I've had the pleasure of talking to her via twitter and am we're both members of the Yorkshire Terriers chapter of the Romantic Novelists' Association too.  She's great fun, so I highly recommend following her on twitter @janelovering. 

Jane's very kindly written a guest post today about how she researches her novels. 

Over to you, Jane...

People often ask me how I research my books.
I have no idea why they do this, since the most cursory glance at me should tell them that I am the person least designed to do research. The fact that I quite often forget to put on my trousers should be a bit of a clue, and a person who can’t even dress themselves satisfactorily is hardly one that should be allowed in the vicinity of careful, detailed exploration of plot points, unless chocolate is involved.  Even travelling is dubious, I can get lost within a five mile radius of my own home, and once (this was quite a while ago) I managed to lose an entire supermarket. Which is why I write books set in and around the North Yorkshire Moors.  They are big, impossible to lose, and, since they are practically right outside my door, hard for me to get lost in.
The moors are also prone to weather.  Not just ‘weather’, like you get in towns and cities, where it might be a bit damp or a bit chilly… no.  Up there the temperature can be five degrees less than in town, the wind gets inside your clothes and commits various acts of indecency, and when it rains it comes at you from all directions at once. Up on the moors the weather really means it. So, you have setting and atmosphere fitted as standard, which is helpful because it only leaves me with characters and plot to worry about.
 For How I Wonder What You Are, I also had to delve a little bit into the world of the astrophysicist.  Now, I’m not a huge fan of Brian Cox, the man is way too smiley for it to be natural, but I do work in a school with a physics department, and we did happen to have a tame astrophysicist lounging around while I was writing, so at least I can be sure that those bits of the book are accurate. Not sure if it really counts as ‘research’ when you are sitting and eating cake in the Science Office, but it was quite useful, plus a chance to eat cake, which is an underrated part of research, if you ask me.
Which really only leaves us with plot research, and, while I don’t mind going outside and/or eating cake in the interests of accuracy, I draw the line at lying naked on the moors (as Phinn is when Molly finds him) or throwing myself into rivers in spate. I mean, I don’t mind suffering for my art, but only when the suffering takes the form of having to eat carrot cake because they’ve run out of coffee and walnut. So the painful bits of my book are made up. So, sadly, are the glamorous bits, because nobody is prepared to fund me a lavish lifestyle, not even for a little while, even in the interests of research.

Book blurb:

Maybe he wasn’t here because of the lights – maybe they were here because of him …

It’s been over eighteen months since Molly Gilchrist has had a man (as her best friend, Caro, is so fond of reminding her) so when she as good as stumbles upon one on the moors one bitterly cold morning, it seems like the Universe is having a laugh at her expense.

But Phinn Baxter (that’s Doctor Phinneas Baxter) is no common drunkard, as Molly is soon to discover; with a PhD in astrophysics and a tortured past that is a match for Molly’s own disastrous love life.

Finding mysterious men on the moors isn’t the weirdest thing Molly has to contend with, however. There’s also those strange lights she keeps seeing in the sky. The ones she’s only started seeing since meeting Phinn …



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Monday, 11 May 2015

Letters to the Lost- Iona Grey

The Blurb
1943, in the ruins of Blitzed London…

Stella Thorne and Dan Rosinski meet by chance and fall in love by accident. Theirs is a reluctant, unstoppable affair in which all the odds are stacked against them: she is newly married, and he is an American bomber pilot whose chance of survival is just one in five.

… He promised to love her forever

Seventy years later Dan makes one final attempt to find the girl he has never forgotten, and sends a letter to the house where they shared a brief yet perfect happiness. But Stella has gone, and the letter is opened by Jess, a young girl hiding from problems of her own. And as Jess reads Dan's words, she is captivated by the story of a love affair that burned so bright and dimmed too soon. Can she help Dan find Stella before it is too late?

Now forever is finally running out.

The Review
This is one of those reviews which is going to be a challenge to write because I loved it so much!  I'm not sure I can do justice to Iona Grey's fabulous debut, however much I try, but I'll do my best...

Every once in a while a book comes along which blows your mind and breaks your heart.  Letters to the Lost is one of those books.  Regular readers of my blogs and reviews know I love a good romance and especially one that will have me weeping uncontrollably.  This book is a dual timeframe and both stories had me broken and turned me into a jibbering wreck!

The first story is that of Stella and Dan, thrown together in wartime London.  Their secret affair brings them temporary happiness in the most desperate of times, but circumstances mean they cannot stay together.  If this had been set in a more modern era their relationship could have seemed seedy or immoral, but I found it just devastating!  Dan was the perfect hero, a brave and humble man in uniform, fighting for justice. 

There were some disturbing scenes in Dan and Stella's story, as well as emotional turmoil and a whole lot of angst, but somehow it remained mostly uplifting, buoyed along by their love and hope.  That says a huge amount about the skill of Iona Grey as a writer.

Jess is the modern-day protagonist, a young lady who has fallen on hard times as she escapes an abusive relationship.  My heart was in my mouth for her, willing her to find a safe, stable home and someone to give her the TLC she deserves.  She breaks into an empty house, never expecting it to bring anything more than a temporary roof over her vulnerable head.  When she opens a letter addressed to Stella that arrives at the house, Jess makes it her mission to find her.  Unravelling the mystery of what happened to Stella becomes Jess's purpose, and through that her own life changes beyond all recognition.

Without giving away the plot, this is a rollercoaster ride of a novel which has you full of the joy of love one moment and crushed by the life's realities the next.  I had to put this book to one side at one point, not because of any direct parallels between the plot and my own life, but because it made me reassess how one event can impact on your whole being and change your path.  I challenge anyone who reads this book not to become slightly introspective, because it really does examine the 'what- if's and the 'if-only's.

I loved the delicate twists, unforced and totally believable, and Iona Grey's exquisite writing style.  She's a definite talent and I'm already awaiting her next release with bated breath (and a box of tissues, if it is anything like Letters to the Lost).

One of the best debut novels you're ever likely to read.

Letters to the Lost is out now, published by Simon and Schuster. 

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

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Giveaway of Secrets in the Shadows by Hannah Emery HARPER IMPULSE FORTNIGHT

Harper Impulse fortnight is coming to an end.  BOOOOOOOOO! at Books with Bunny we're ending with a fabulous giveaway! YAAAAAAAY!
Enter the rafflecopter giveaway below to win a paperback copy of Hannah Emery's Secrets in the Shadows. 
The Blurb

A must-read for fans of Kate Morton!

In 1920s Blackpool, eleven year old Rose wanders away from her parents and has a unique gift bestowed upon her. This gift will leave a haunting legacy, seeping down through the generations...

Decades later, Louisa has a vision of her mother walking into the sea. This isn't the first time it happens and it won't be the last, but what she sees isn't always what she wants. The rest of her life is spent trying to change the future that haunts her.

In present day Blackpool, Grace is going to be married someday. She knows this because she's seen it; a vision of a white dress, daisies embroidered on the sleeves, the groom by her side, vowing to love her forever. Except the man in her premonition doesn't belong to her- he belongs to her twin sister, Elsie.

Haunted by what they know and what they are afraid to find out, all three women must make a choice: in the face of certain destiny should you chase the outcome that's "meant to be", or throw away fate and choose your own future?

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Hannah also has some exciting news to share!
"My next new book has a working title of The Castle of Dreams and will be released by Harper Impulse later this year…
In 1939, Evelyn du Reve lives in a Castle that stands at the top of Silenshore, a small English seaside town. Evelyn is rich and beautiful, but she wants more than is offered inside the castle gates. When an exotic stranger gives her a beautiful mirror encrusted with sapphires, the gems of new love, she falls in love with him. But once she is married, Evelyn realizes the love that sparkled in the beginning was perhaps not all it seemed.
In 1964, Victoria Lace sits in her father’s antique shop and stares into the same sapphire mirror. When Victoria looks up from her reflection and sees a stranger standing in front of her, she knows that her life as she knew it is gone. In its place is one where all she thinks of, and dreams of, is the man in front of her.
In 2010, Isobel Blythe is faced with a sudden change when she becomes pregnant after only three months of dating Tom, who seems like the man of her dreams. As she adapts to her strange new life, she struggles to ignore the secrets that linger around her.
Bound by the legacy of the sapphire mirror, the three women try to discover who they really are, who they can trust, and what true love really means.
Hannah has written stories for as long as she can remember.  She loves writing about how fragile the present is and how so much of it depends on chance events that took place years ago. She studied English at the University of Chester and now mentors degree students in a University Centre, although she is currently enjoying the first few months of maternity leave. The most important things in Hannah's life are her family, her friends, books, baking on a Saturday afternoon, getting glammed up to go out for champagne and dinner and having cosy weekends away. Hannah lives in Blackpool with her husband and their two daughters.


No One Wants to Be Miss Havisham- Brigid Coady

You may remember that Books with Bunny was the first place in the world that you could see the gorgeous cover for Brigid Coady's first full length release No One Wants to Be Miss Havisham
Well today I'm delighted to go one better by sharing the first review of this gem of a book!
The Blurb

What the Dickens is going on?

Edie Dickens is a shark of a divorce lawyer. She doesn’t believe in love and she scoffs at happily ever afters, however she’s agreed to be maid of honour for her oldest friend, Mel in two weeks and she still has the hen night to endure. But she has even more to endure when she’s visited by Jessica Marley’s ghost and finds out she must change her ways or end up being damned to an eternity watching other people’s happiness. Edie is visited by the Ghosts of Weddings Past, Present and Future, every Friday night until the day of the wedding. Can she learn from her mistakes in time? And did the ghosts send the hunky new lawyer, Jack Twist, to distract her?

The Review

When I first read the blurb for No One Wants to Be Miss Havisham I wasn't sure what to think.  I'd loved Brigid's 'Kiss' short stories and this sounded like something way out of leftfield in comparison.  Romance stories with ghosts are a bit hit and miss for me, and anything paranormal is out of my comfort zone.  This, however, is a work of genius.  The ghostly elements are humorous (leaving trails of pink glitter in their wake) as well as giving the reader an opportunity to find out about Edie's background by visiting weddings of the past, present and future.

I really liked Edie's dry and cynical outlook, especially when compared to the romantic viewpoint of everyone else in the book and it was highly believable that she'd feel that way when her own experience of relationships is less than perfect.  She's somehow both bright and ditzy, and although she has a reputation for being hard nosed, her personality changes as the book progresses.  She's unlike most romantic heroines, that's for sure.

Now onto Jack.  Jack Twist was a great character.  Rugby player and local hero, he works with Edie at a law firm.  He's strong in every sense and a no-nonsense kind of guy.  However, he's warm-hearted and always seems to be the one helping Edie out of all the messes she gets herself into.  There's one scene where Edie longs for her feet to be on solid ground and Jack's there beside her, offering support.  My heart was all aflutter right then and I could have done with the smelling salts. I was full on swooning, I'm telling you now.

If laughs are your thing, then Coady's observations will have you chuckling- there are some hilarious portrayals of characters (Edie's boss in particular!), cringeworthy weddings and alcohol induced embarrassments. I think I'm going to be looking closely at suit linings for the foreseeable future as a result of this book...

Overall, it's a well written and touching debut which strikes the balance between humour and heart.  If you're looking for an original romance with a quirky twist, look no further- Brigid Coady has stepped up to the helm. 

No One Wants to Be Miss Havisham may appeal to fans of Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella and Carmen Reid.

Enormous thanks to Brigid Coady for allowing me to be one of the first people to read No One Wants to Be Miss Havisham.

It is available to preorder now, prior to ebook release on May 28th 2015 and paperback release on August 13th 2015. 


The Blurb

Falling in love is just not on Nora King’s To Do List…

Neither is accidentally super-gluing her shoe to her hand right before the biggest presentation of her life!

With all the hard work she’d put into securing the family business after her father’s death, Nora has no choice but to accept help from a knight in shining armour.

Disaster relief worker Ethan Love is still haunted by his last deployment, and desperate for distraction. He’s in town to ask Nora for a major favour, and swooping in to save her presentation is a sure way to get her on side.

As Ethan sticks around and helps Nora through her grief, her barriers tumble down…but will she dare to swap her To Do lists for a How to Fall in Love list?

The Review

The Love List is one of the contemporary romance releases in Harper Impulse's back catalogue.  As mentioned in the blurb above it's a 'will they/won't they' struggle between Nora and Ethan, and although it took me a couple of chapters to get hooked, I was well and truly reeled in by the half way point and there was no way I was putting that book down until I found out if they were going to get together!

Being honest, Nora wasn't the kind of heroine I immediately warm to- although I admire a strong, career-minded woman I find them harder to relate to (because my life doesn't revolve around business deals and number crunching).  However, as the plot developed I began to appreciate Nora's character more and why she sometimes came across in a less than endearing light. 

Ethan Love on the other hand...he was wonderful right from the start!  I think I'm still swooning.  A kind hearted, charitable hunk of a man who cares about his family and runs his own business to boot- there's not a lot that doesn't appeal about that!  The tension between him and Nora is sizzling, and I especially love the bike scenes- phew!  Is it getting hot in here?!

Their story is complicated, partly because they are wary of getting too emotionally involved after previous set-backs in life.  Add in family complications, where a shared relative who needs a stable influence could be affected by their actions and their love story appears to be one that is over before it begins...

The love list of the title, which I'd assumed the plot would be built around, isn't revealed until right near the end, but when it is it shows that maybe Nora has always been a girl who deep down knows exactly what she wants.  It certainly gave me pause to wonder what I would have been looking for as a ten year old and whether the adult me would have been looking for the same.

The Love List is an entertaining read with some red-hot scenes and touching moments, and I'm left wanting more of Ethan! I'm looking forward to reading Her Best Laid Plans next, which is actually the first in the series (although the books can be read and enjoyed as stand alones- which this review is testament to!).

With thanks to Harper Impulse for providing me with a review copy of this book in return for my honest opinion.

The Love List is available to buy now, in both ebook and paperback format.
Enter the rafflecopter giveaway below for the chance to win an ecopy of The Love List and this beautiful bookmark courtesy of Eve Devon!

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Author Bio:
Growing up in locations like Botswana and Venezuela gave me quite the taste for adventure and my love for romances began when my mother shoved one into my hands in a desperate attempt to keep me quiet during TV coverage of the Wimbledon tennis finals!
When I wasn’t consuming books by the bucket-load, I could be found pretending to be a damsel in distress or running around solving mysteries and writing down my adventures. As a teenager, I wrote countless episodes of TV detective dramas so the hero and heroine would end up together every week. As an adult, I worked in a library to conveniently continue consuming books by the bucket-load, until realising I was destined to write contemporary romance and romantic suspense myself. I live in leafy Surrey in the UK, a book-devouring, slightly melodramatic, romance-writing sassy heroine with my very own sexy hero husband!



Saturday, 9 May 2015

Jane Linfoot talks about casting heroes *plus giveaway* HARPER IMPULSE FORTNIGHT

Jane Linfoot is my guest today, talking about casting heroes (complete with pictures of Aiden Turner!)

Many thanks to Jane for providing an entertaining and eyecatching post ;)

I'll leave you in her very capable hands...

To celebrate Harper Impulse Fortnight, I’d like to share a few thoughts on how I choose the hot guys in my stories.

There are so many fab parts to being a chicklit writer, but one of them has to be dreaming up the male leads. Although most of my heroes have an unnerving habit of marching onto the page fully formed, I still find it useful to find a real life equivalent. Pictures of a flesh and blood guy come in handy, because if I get stuck on a scene, a quick drool over the pic of the man in question will usually get the creative juices flowing again. It’s also a great excuse to adorn my desk top and inspiration boards with decorative pictures, and yes, I can spend hours trawling the internet to find them, all in the name of work.  

With my last book, High Heels and Bicycle Wheels, I was pouring over a set of arty Dolce and Gabbana shots of David Gandy, when I came across the perfect shot of Jackson Gale, the lead guy in that story. I say “arty”, meaning very beautiful. In fact, the collection hit facebook with the caption “David Gandy naked!!!!”, although possibly the pictures didn’t warrant quite that many exclamation marks. In some of the shots he was smoldering in a suit, but admittedly in others he was wearing considerably less. Later, I sent the file of pictures through to Katie at Harper Impulse, so she could select a suitably chaste picture, to add to the Harper Impulse blog, as a Jackson teaser. This was to go at the end of a guest post I’d written about Bryony, the heroine, and her fab chocolate brownies. Poor Katie opened the picture file, expecting to see cake, and instead got an unscheduled eyeful of David Gandy in the buff – she almost had to start her maternity leave early.

The dream guy in my latest book, The Vintage Cinema Club, is called Xander Blackman. He’s a film producer and property developer, whose life is spectacularly dysfunctional and sad. Can you tell I’m terminally in love with him? I first started work on this book back in 2010, and as Xander strolled onto the page of that first draft, I spotted he was a dead ringer for Mitchell from the cult BBC3 hit, Being Human – a.k.a. Aidan Turner. (Although please note, Xander definitely doesn’t have vampire tendencies in The Vintage Cinema Club.) Since I cast him to play Xander all that time ago, Aidan Turner’s acting career has taken off, so I wasn’t the only one to notice his qualities. He has gone on to star in The Hobbit films, and as Poldark he’s recently been giving Colin Firth a run for his money, as hottest guy in a wet shirt to grace our screens, in the world ever. Even if Aidan’s much more famous now, that bone structure, his stubble covered jaw, the choppy hair, and dark eyes, mean he’s still a perfect fit to play Xander, especially when he’s looking mean, or serious.

Here are a couple of pics to wet your appetite.


The Vintage Cinema Club.
ebook release on 21st May, paperback release 30th July.

"A witty, warm-hearted romp through the lives and loves of three friends – with a cool retro vibe, and a sense of fun that will never go out of fashion." – Debbie Johnson, author of the best-selling ‘Cold Feet At Christmas’.

Meet The Vintage Cinema Club….

Izzy is a wow at making unwanted things pretty, but with three brothers and her shabby chic furniture business to run she doesn’t have time to date. Could a fabulous French proposal change her mind?

Single mum Luce’s vintage bridal dresses are exquisite, but there’s no way she’s ever going to wear one or walk down the aisle for that matter. She’s a strictly no romance, one night kind of woman – or so she thinks…

Dida seems to have it all – a chocolate and banana cake recipe to die for, lovely kids (most of the time!) and a great lifestyle. But what good is a fabulous home, when your marriage has more cracks than a pavlova and your husband is having it off with half of Lithuania?

Three retro fabulous friends, in love with all things vintage, run their dream business from the faded grandeur of a rescued cinema. When that dream comes under threat, they’ll do whatever it takes to save it.

Fans of Lucy Diamond, Michele Gorman and Milly Johnson are going to love this heartfelt, funny story.

Buy Link:

Author Bio
I write fun chicklit, with strong heroines, and lots of heart.

Writing is fab, because I get to wear pretty shoes instead of wellies. I live in a cottage up a mountain road in Derbyshire, where my family and pets are kind enough to ignore the domestic chaos. Happily, we're in walking distance of a supermarket. I love hearts, flowers, happy endings, all things vintage, most things french. When I'm not on facebook, and can't find an excuse for shopping, I'll be walking, or gardening. On days when I want to be really scared, I ride a tandem.

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Judge a book by its cover? - A Guest Post by Rae Rivers HARPER IMPULSE FORTNIGHT

I'm thrilled to have Rae Rivers guesting on Books with Bunny today, and talking about book covers- one of my favourite subjects!

Author Rae Rivers
Over to Rae...

Judge A Book By Its Cover?
Do you?  I know you shouldn’t but to be honest, as an avid reader, I do.  Really.  A cover is my first impression of a book and in an overcrowded market where choosing my next book can sometimes be overwhelming, I rely heavily on covers.  An icky cover or a cover that looks rushed or unprofessional ... um, pass.  (And no, I don’t use this approach to people!) 
So what makes a really good cover for me?
An intriguing image is a must.  It has to be eye catching, interesting and enticing.  The image alone can determine whether or not I pick up a book.  It also helps me determine the gist of the plot or the genre of the book at a first glance.  Think romance novels!  (And by the way, have you seen how gorgeous HarperImpulse’s covers are?)  
One of my pet peeves about covers is when the cover on the front doesn’t match the story.  If the heroine has red hair on the cover but turns out blonde in the story or there’s a symbol on the cover that seems to have relevance but doesn’t appear in the book, I’m disappointed.  (Because I was waiting for the meaning behind that symbol, you know!)  As for a series, if a book is part of one, I like to see a vague resemblance on the covers that carries through all the books.
Although the use of colours is subjective as everyone reacts differently, colour has a huge impact on emotions and is a great way to reveal the tone of a story.  Colours like green and blue are calming and can be used to express sadness or feelings of trust and security.  Red, orange and yellow evoke feelings of passion, warmth and energy.  (Ah, so that’s why my publishers opted for those colours for the covers of my Keepers series! J) 
Tag line
This is the brief line that sums up the plot in a nutshell and hooks me to want to read more.  I’ve been enticed to explore books further and buy them based on their clever tag lines.  A great example is Paula Hawkin’s, The Girl on the Train:  “You don’t know her but she knows you.” 
Professional polish
If a book meets all the above, has an interesting blurb and looks professional, usually the chances are good that the writing will be too!   
When I signed my Paranormal Romance book deal with HarperImpulse, I was very flexible regarding the covers they designed but insisted they had to be eye-catching, colourful and well ... perfect.  My Keepers are three warrior brothers who protect a powerful, modern day witch.  They fight to protect the balance of nature and innocent people.  They all have magical elemental powers.  Initially, I expected covers with half naked chests and glorious muscles. Warriors.  I completed a cover sheet giving more information on the story and what I had in mind and this was passed on to Alex, HarperImpulse’s fab cover designer. 
The final product?  No warriors but lots of colour - and the right ones too!  Red, orange and yellow – energy and passion that conveys the plot so well.  And pentagrams which forms such a vital part of the story as it illustrates the magical bond between my Keepers and their witch.  A pentagram is a symbol of goodness and depicts the five elements of nature – water, earth, fire, air and the spirit that binds them together.  My Keepers and their witch are magically bound, strong as individuals but unbeatable as one.  As it’s a series, I also loved the fact that there’s continuity between all the covers. 
So no, the covers weren’t anything close to what I had in mind but in the end, I think they’re everything a cover should be.  Love them!
Thanks for reading.
Rae Rivers
I’m an avid reader and writer with a passion for writing romance novels. I live in Cape
Town, South Africa, with my gorgeous husband, two beautiful children and a zoo of house pets.
Besides writing, I love family time, the outdoors, travelling, watching TV series, reading and
chocolate. For more information about my books, or me, please visit
I can also be found here:
Twitter: @raerivers1
The Keepers series is published by Harper Impulse, the digital first romance imprint at Harper Collins.
Many thanks to Rae for such a fabulous post as part of the #HIFortnight celebrations!