Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Recently Added to my To-Be-Read List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's theme is books I've recently added to by tbr list. So without further ado, here are some of my most recent additions that I can't wait to read!

There's something so satisfying about a post full of gorgeous book covers don't you agree? 

Have you read any of these? If so what did you think? Please do leave links to your lists, I'd love to read them! You can never have too many books on your tbr shelf!

Friday, 27 March 2015

Review: Lady Vice by Wendy LaCapra

Not every lady plays by the rules… 

Lady Lavinia Vaile knows what happens to a woman who puts her faith in society. For her, it was a disastrous marriage to a depraved man—one she threatened to shoot when she left him. Now Lavinia lives outside of society's strict conventions, hosting private gambling parties. It's only when her husband is shot dead that Lavinia finds herself in terrible danger... 

A former judge in India's high court, Maximilian Harrison will do anything he can to help Lavinia. In the darkest of times, he held on to thoughts of her and the love they once shared. Now he risks his own position in society―along with his ambitions―in order to clear her name. Yet as desire reignites between them, Lavinia remains caught up in secrets and shame. Her only salvation is to do the unthinkable...and trust in both Maximilian and love. 

The three Furies, Lady Vice, Duchess Decadence and Lady Scandal, or Lavinia, Thea and Sophia, are independent women who have taken charge of their lives. They refuse to be downtrodden by men, and for Lavinia - who has fled a twisted marriage - Sophia and Thea company provide a kind of safety. I really liked the relationship between these three women, and their attitude made a refreshing change in fiction of this genre. I'm assuming and hoping that the other two Furies get their stories told too!

When Lavinia's husband is murdered, fingers immediately start pointing in her direction. Enter Max Harrison, childhood sweetheart of Lavinia who went away to make a name for himself. After a harrowing imprisonment, his only focus now is protecting the woman who got him through those dark times and clearing her name. I LOVED Max. He was devoted to Lavinia and prepared to do anything to keep her safe. He is the perfect gentleman with a tortured soul, and needs Lavinia to help him heal. Lavinia and Max each have their own scars to bear. Max hides his hurt behind a gentlemanly front of duty, while Lavinia finds it hard to trust men - even Max. It's clear that she's had a troubled past, but the way she kept shutting herself off and putting herself down did begin to grate on me.

Although the novel starts with a murder it isn't much of a whodunit - the culprit is pretty obvious from the start. Discovering the motive and provoking a confession however is the tricky part, particularly as the murderer seems determined to frame Lavinia. The novel is very well written, gripping in parts, and there is real chemistry between the two main characters. I look forward to reading more from this author! 4/5 stars.

*Thanks to Entangled Publishing for granting me a copy of this e-book in exchange for a review*

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Books from my Childhood/Teens that I would Love to Revisit

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.

This week's theme is Childood favourites that I would love to revisit. Many of my choices today are still actually sitting on my bookshelf, but haven't been read in years. Maybe it's time to change that.

1) Stormbreaker - Anthony Horowitz
It was the Alex Rider series of books that taught me it was okay for girls to read 'boys' books, that we didn't all have to resign ourselves to Jacqueline Wilson because of our gender. It was these books that turned me into the spy fiction fan that I am today, and now Horowitz has actually written a James Bond novel! I've never been more excited for a book in my life!

2) The Five Find-Outers - Enid Blyton 
The lesser known children detective series by Enid Blyton alongside The Famous Five and the Secret Seven. I was in awe of Fatty's expertise in disguises and loved his dog Buster.

3) Lexy Boyd and the Spadewell Sparklers - Michael Coleman.
I couldn't actually tell you what this book is about, but I read it countless times as a child and it was
my favourite library book. I'd love to know what all the fuss was about. I actually looked in the children's section a few years ago to see if it was still there, but I fear that it's long gone...

4) The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
Cheating a little on this one as I didn't actually read it until I studied it at university. I loved the film as a child though and only wish that I had read the book. I know it would have been one of my favourites and I intend to read it again soon.

5) The Jolly Pocket Postman - Janet and Allan Ahlberg
I have actually read this recently for fun, but I love it and so it has to be on this list!

6) Beatrix Potter
I can't pick one of these, I just can't. Though I think Benjamin Bunny is my favourite character. There's a brilliant old photo of me at The Beatrix Potter Experience in the Lake District with Mrs Tiggywinkle. I've lost count of the amount of times I've insisted on visiting that place.

7) Apple Tree Farm - Heather Amery and Stephen Cartwright
A firm family favourite. I think we even had plastic children's dinner placemats with the characters on. And I know my first ever French book was Apple Tree Farm too. Oh, and as for the iconic hiding yellow duck.. we had one ourselves and used to hide it in family holiday photos. Yeah...

8) The Faraway Tree - Enid Blyton
I could actually make an entire list from Enid Blyton books alone I read that much of her work as a child. This series was just wonderfully silly. I actually bought this set of the books a few years ago because I loved the covers and have yet to read them, so a revisit is definitely in order!

9) Dear Zoo - Rod Campbell
Everyone needs a definitive lift-the-flap book in their childhood, and this was mine. Again I've no idea where it is now but I'm determined to find it!

10) My Cat likes to Hide in Boxes - Eve Sutton
I was obsessed with this book. I remember we had a recording of a children's TV show (quite possibly Words and Pictures) with the host reading it that I used to watch over and over again. Then I found out that my neighbour actually had a copy and everything changed. She ended up giving it to me. Sadly I'm not sure where it is now, but I know it's in the house somewhere! The best way to sum up this book is as a mixture of geography, poetry and cats. It's brilliant. Here's the gist of it:

The cat from Brazil
Caught a very bad chill.
The cat from Greece
Joined the police.
The cat from Norway
Got stuck in the doorway.
The cat from Spain
Flew an aeroplane.
The cat from France
Liked to sing and dance.
But MY cat likes to hide in boxes.

What's on your lists this week?

Monday, 23 March 2015

Review: The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin

In 1875, Sisi, the Empress of Austria is the woman that every man desires and every woman envies.

Beautiful, athletic and intelligent, Sisi has everything - except happiness. Bored with the stultifying etiquette of the Hapsburg Court and her dutiful but unexciting husband, Franz Joseph, Sisi comes to England to hunt. She comes looking for excitement and she finds it in the dashing form of Captain Bay Middleton, the only man in Europe who can outride her. Ten years younger than her and engaged to the rich and devoted Charlotte, Bay has everything to lose by falling for a woman who can never be his. But Bay and the Empress are as reckless as each other, and their mutual attraction is a force that cannot be denied.

Full of passion and drama, THE FORTUNE HUNTER tells the true story of a nineteenth century Queen of Hearts and a cavalry captain, and the struggle between love and duty. 

Having finished this book I was delighted to discover that in the Author's Notes that the majority of the characters all existed in real life - even if a little artistic license has been taken with their personalities. Charlotte's interest in photography I found really interesting, and it is refreshing for a heroine for a heroine in a novel set in this era to have such a modern stance on women's role in society. She wants more than marriage, she wants a life of her own.

I knew that Sisi was a real person but didn't know much about her. I did feel sorry for her as she longed to escape her caged existence, but I also found her a bit selfish in her obsession with Bay. She expected him to give up his life for her, something he could never do. She cuts quite a tragic figure, so afraid of ageing that she refuses all photographs and employs ridiculous anti-ageing methods in the hope of keeping her youthful looks.

This novel is packed full of period details, from the stately homes and balls to the thrill of the fox hunt. But if you liked your books action packed then this isn't for you. I found myself waiting for something to happen a lot of the time. Charlotte's photography career is the most interesting part of the novel in my opinion, with the gallery exhibitions, her wonderfully flamboyant new friend Casper (who is actually deserving of a novel of his own), and the brilliant depictions of Queen Victoria and her devoted Scottish servant John Brown. I also enjoyed Bay's stint in the Grand National. In short I cared little for the central story of the novel, the love triangle of Bay, Sisi and Charlotte, and found the sub-plots much more engaging.

Contrary to many other reviewers I did like Bay, and his declaration to Charlotte at the end of the novel was incredibly romantic, but I couldn't help wondering how long it would be before another pretty married woman turned his head - after all he's the most famous rider in the country now! Perhaps the most honest and open relationship in the novel was between Bay and his horse Tipsy. No matter how many women come and go, I got the distinct impression that she will always be his number one girl.

4/5 stars: Undoubtedly well written and engaging, and packed full of sumptuous period detail, but the plot didn't grab me like I had expected it to.

*I was lucky enough to win a free proof copy of this book via Goodreads Giveaways*

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Mega March Book Haul

March has been a busy month in terms of reading, and I have added plenty of new titles to my shelves this week! I tend to find there's a lull where I can't find anything I want to read, and then suddenly lots of exciting titles come along at once!

The first book post of the week came courtesy of Pan MacMillan. Hausfrau has been billed as Anna Karenina meets Fifty Shades of Grey. My curiosity got the better of me and I dived straight into this one - pretty good so far!

I also received these two books from Bookbridgr! Beatrice and Benedick tells the story of how the famous couple from Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing first met. I just love the cover! The Prince Who Loved Me is a fairy tale of a historical romance set in Scotland. Historical romances are my guilty pleasure, and this one sounds perfect to bridge the gap between more heavy-going books.

As if these books weren't enough, I picked up a couple of library books this week too! I've heard good things about both of these titles so I just couldn't resist.

As well as being approved to read and review these titles on NetGalley...

Phew! I have a busy few weeks reading ahead that's for sure!
What's new on your shelves this month?

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Release Day Launch: The Witch of Painted Sorrows by M.J. Rose

TWoPS RDL Banner
The Witch of Painted Sorrows - coverToday is the release day launch for The Witch of Painted Sorrows, a historical gothic romantic suspense novel by M.J. Rose. I absolutely adore the cover for this novel and can't wait to read it! Check out the excerpt below, and don't forget to enter the giveaway M.J. Rose is holding to celebrate the release!!  

Possession. Power. Passion. New York Times bestselling novelist M. J. Rose creates her most provocative and magical spellbinder yet in this gothic novel set against the lavish spectacle of 1890s Belle Époque Paris. Sandrine Salome flees New York for her grandmother's Paris mansion to escape her dangerous husband, but what she finds there is even more menacing. The house, famous for its lavish art collection and elegant salons, is mysteriously closed up. Although her grandmother insists it's dangerous for Sandrine to visit, she defies her and meets Julien Duplessi, a mesmerizing young architect. Together they explore the hidden night world of Paris, the forbidden occult underground and Sandrine's deepest desires. Among the bohemians and the demi-monde, Sandrine discovers her erotic nature as a lover and painter. Then darker influences threaten--her cold and cruel husband is tracking her down and something sinister is taking hold, changing Sandrine, altering her. She's become possessed by La Lune: A witch, a legend, and a sixteenth-century courtesan, who opens up her life to a darkness that may become a gift or a curse This is Sandrine's "wild night of the soul," her odyssey in the magnificent city of Paris, of art, love, and witchery

 Amazon ** Barnes and Noble ** iBooks ** IndieBound

Four months ago I snuck into Paris on a wet, chilly January night like a criminal, hiding my face in my shawl, taking extra care to be sure I wasn’t followed. I stood on the stoop of my grandmother’s house and lifted the hand-shaped bronze door knocker and let it drop. The sound of the metal echoed inside. Her home was on a lane blocked off from rue des Saints-Pères by wide wooden double doors. Maison de la Lune, as it was called, was one of a half dozen four-story mid-eighteenth- century stone houses that shared a courtyard that backed up onto rue du Dragon. I let the door knocker fall again. Light from a street lamp glinted off the golden metal. It was a strange object. Usually on these things the bronze hand’s palm faced the door. But this one was palm out, almost warning the visitor to reconsider requesting entrance. The knocker had obsessed me ten years before when I’d visited as a fifteen-year-old. The engravings on the finely modeled female palm included etched stars, phases of the moon, planets, and other archaic symbols. When I’d asked about it once, my grandmother had said it was older than the house, but she didn’t know how old exactly or what the ciphers meant. Where was the maid? Grand-mère, one of Paris’s celebrated courtesans, hosted lavish salons on Tuesday, Thursday, and many Saturday evenings, and at this time of day was usually upstairs, preparing her toilette: dusting poudre de riz on her face and décolletage, screwing in her opale de feu earrings, and wrapping her signature rope of the same blazing orange stones around her neck. The strand of opal beads was famous. It had belonged to a Russian empress and was known as Les Incendies. The stones were the same color as my grandmother’s hair and the high- lights in her topaz eyes. She was known by that name—L’Incendie, they called her, The Fire. We had the same color eyes, but mine almost never flashed like hers. When I was growing up, I kept checking in the mirror, hoping the opal sparks that I only saw occasionally would intensify. I wanted to be just like her, but my father said it was just as well my eyes weren’t on fire because it wasn’t only her coloring that had inspired her name but also her temper, and that wasn’t a thing to covet. It wasn’t until I was fifteen years old and witnessed it myself that I understood what he’d meant. I let the hand of fate fall again. Even if Grand-mère was upstairs and couldn’t hear the knocking, the maid would be downstairs, organizing the refreshments for the evening. I’d seen her so many nights, polishing away last smudges on the silver, holding the Baccarat glasses over a pot of steaming water and then wiping them clean to make sure they gleamed. Dusk had descended. The air had grown cold, and now it was beginning to rain. Fat, heavy drops dripped onto my hat and into my eyes. And I had no umbrella. That’s when I did what I should have done from the start—I stepped back and looked up at the house. The darkened windows set into the limestone facade indicated there were no fires burning and no lamps lit inside. My grandmother was not in residence. And neither, it appeared, was her staff. I almost wished the concierge had needed to open the porte cochère for me; he might have been able to tell me where my grandmother was. For days now I had managed to keep my sanity only by thinking of this moment. All I had to do, I kept telling myself, was find my way here, and then together, my grandmother and I could mourn my father and her son, and she would help me figure out what I should do now that I had run away from New York City. If she wasn’t here, where was I to go? I had other family in Paris, but I had no idea where they lived. I’d only met them here, at my grandmother’s house, when I’d visited ten years previously. I had no friends in the city. The rain was soaking through my clothes. I needed to find shelter. But where? A restaurant or café? Was there one nearby? Or should I try and find a hotel? Which way should I go to get a carriage? Was it even safe to walk alone here at night? What choice did I have? Picking up my suitcase, I turned, but before I could even step into the courtyard, I saw an advancing figure. A bedraggled-looking man, wearing torn and filthy brown pants and an overcoat that had huge, bulging pockets, staggered toward me. Every step he took rang out on the stones. He’s just a beggar who intends no harm, I told myself. He’s just look- ing for scraps of food, for a treasure in the garbage he’d be able to sell. But what if I was wrong? Alone with him in the darkening court- yard, where could I go? In my skirt and heeled boots, could I even outrun him?

"Haunting tale of possession." —Publishers Weekly
"Rose's new series offers her specialty, a unique and captivating supernatural angle, set in an intriguing belle epoque Paris — lush descriptions, intricate plot and mesmerizing storytelling. Sensual, evocative, mysterious and haunting." —Kirkus
"Mixes reality and illusion, darkness and light, mystery and romance into an adult fairy tale. [Rose] stirs her readers curiosities and imaginations, opening their eyes to the cultural, intellectual and artistic excitement that marked the Belle Epoque period. Unforgettable, full-bodied characters and richly detailed narrative result in an entrancing read that will be long savored."—Library Journal (Starred Review)


Make sure you visit M.J. Rose's website to enter to win this gorgeous necklace to celebrate her release!  

Author photoAbout the Author
 New York Times Bestseller, M.J. Rose grew up in New York City mostly in the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum, the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park and reading her mother's favorite books before she was allowed. She believes mystery and magic are all around us but we are too often too busy to notice... books that exaggerate mystery and magic draw attention to it and remind us to look for it and revel in it. Rose's work has appeared in many magazines including Oprah Magazine and she has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, WSJ, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio. Rose graduated from Syracuse University, spent the '80s in advertising, has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors - Authorbuzz.com The television series PAST LIFE, was based on Rose's novels in the Reincarnationist series. She is one of the founding board members of International Thriller Writers and currently serves, with Lee Child, as the organization's co-president. Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug Scofield, and their very spoiled and often photographed dog, Winka.  

Website TwitterFacebook | Author Goodreads Novel GoodreadsNewsletterPinterest

Witch small teaser

Monday, 16 March 2015

Review: Sins of a Duke by Stacy Reid

All of the young ladies whispered about the Duke of Mondvale in hushed tones, their eyes following his tall, dark figure with barely disguised lust. For the newly-ostracized Lady Constance Thornton, he is magnetic and altogether desirable. Irresistibly so. Since her reputation is already ruined in London society, why shouldn't she be impudent and dance with the scandalous “Lord of Sin”?

Little does she know of his plans.

The beautiful and innocent Lady Constance is no mere plaything for Lucan Wynwood. She will be his revenge. By ruining her, he will have his vengeance against her brother. Except that the Lady Constance is full of surprises...and now she could well be the ruin of him.

The 'Beautiful Bastard' and the 'Lord of Sin' - unholy alliance or match made in heaven? Lucan Wynwood intends to ruin the reputation of Lady Constance Thornton in revenge against her brother. But when he discovers that the enchanting woman he encountered at the ball and Lady Constance are one and the same his plan begins to falter. Can he really bring himself to destroy this woman for sins that are not hers to bear? Especially as he seems to be reluctantly falling for her, fast.

What this novel highlighted the most was the ridiculous social and moral conventions at the time. Society was incredibly fickle and fuelled by a rumour mill - people were loved one minute and ignored the next. Influence and popular opinion was all that mattered, and it was all a facade. 

I liked Constance and didn't want to see her get hurt - she didn't deserve it! She is pure of heart and innocent, with a determined and wilful streak. I didn't find Lucan all that attractive myself, and the eleven year age difference - usual for the time but seldom mentioned in fiction - didn't sit that well with me. That said I enjoyed the story and raced through it in a couple of days! 4/5 stars.

*Thanks to Entangled Publishing for granting me an e-copy of this book in exchange for a review!*

Friday, 13 March 2015

Cover Reveal/ Giveaway: Game of Love by Ara Grigorian

GOL CoverToday I'm excited to be part of the cover reveal for Game of Love, a new sports romance from Ara Grigorian! Check out all the fun details about this book and enter his fantastic giveaway!
Title: Game of Love 
Author: Ara Grigorian
Genre: Contemporary Sports Romance
Release Day: May 4th

Game of Love is set in the high-stakes world of professional tennis where fortune and fame can be decided by a single point. Gemma Lennon has spent nearly all of her 21 years focused on one thing: Winning a Grand Slam. After a disastrous and very public scandal and subsequent loss at the Australian Open, Gemma is now laser-focused on winning the French Open. Nothing and no one will derail her shot at winning - until a heated chance encounter with brilliant and sexy Andre Reyes threatens to throw her off her game. Breaking her own rules, Gemma begins a whirlwind romance with Andre who shows her that love and a life off the court might be the real prize. With him, she learns to trust and love… at precisely the worst time in her career. The pressure from her home country, fans, and even the Prime Minister to be the first British woman to win in nearly four decades weighs heavily. As Wimbledon begins, fabricated and sensationalized news about them spreads, fueling the paparazzi, and hurting her performance. Now, she must reconsider everything, because in the high-stakes game of love, anyone can be the enemy within… even lovers and even friends. In the Game of Love, winner takes all. Preorder today!!!

Exclusive Excerpt

“We are made strong by the difficulties we face, not by those we evade.” ~Author Unknown

 Gemma’s security flanked her, their grip tight on her arms. Bedric, her coach, rushed ahead, slamming open the hotel’s glass doors to the roar of the French paparazzi―a cacophony of questions, comments, and insults.

 Gemma moderated her breathing, prepared for another three-second spurt of chaos.

    "―What happened in your hotel room?"

They knew. Dozens of cameras from all directions chirped and flashed. She kept her eyes trained on her goal: the awaiting car.


   "―Mademoiselle! Gemma! One smile.”

 The paparazzi bore in from her right. Only a few more steps. A knee rammed into her thigh. That one would leave a mark. A bruise that the papers would dissect and analyze gratuitously.


   “―Why were you hiding for four months? Were you going to quit tennis?”

  Don’t react. Say nothing. Bedric forced the car door open, giving Gemma the opening she needed to squeeze in. He followed.


The door slammed behind them, and the sounds of commotion lowered to a gentle hush. Black tinted windows offered a veil of privacy. Bodies, camera lenses, and faces smashed against the glass. Only inches separated her from the paparazzi. There had been a time when she used to move to the center of the car, creating as much separation as possible. But now she knew better. Distance was a mere illusion of safety.

The locks engaged, and the car accelerated away.

She didn’t like surprises―particularly on game day―but in this case, her security lead’s demand to move her to another hotel had been spot- on. It was one thing for the paparazzi to gather outside. It was quite another when one found his way into her hotel suite... while she slept. The French paparazzi were setting a new standard.

 “This is not good,” Bedric said in stoic English.

She eyed her superstitious coach, who was always concerned with deviations from routine. But the concern etched on his face wasn’t about superstition. He didn’t want a repeat performance of the Australian Open months earlier.

 “You have not rested,” he continued, “and you have yet to get breakfast.”

 “We’ll be fine. We are fine,” she said, nearly believing it herself. “As for breakfast, we’ll grab something at the new hotel.”

 The car swerved as the driver made a temporary effort to lose their tail. Memories of another car chase months earlier inched its way into her throat.

 “There will be people. You don’t need more distractions.”

 “More distractions?” She had woken to the sound of an intruder in her suite, and now she was rushing from one hotel to another on the morning of her quarter-final match. How much worse could it get? “We’ll be discreet. Run in, eat, and we’ll be off.”

 The car’s tires screeched as the driver took another quick turn. It was happening again. Another chase just before a critical match. Only this time, the driver wasn’t drunk.

 From her bag, Gemma removed a tennis ball and twirled it in her hand. One point at a time. She focused on the soft texture. Familiar. Calming. Poking out from inside her bag, the newspaper article from the day before mocked her. Inch-tall letters above her picture: The Great HypeFive Years and Still Waiting. She squeezed the tennis ball over and over again until her fingers went numb.

She dropped the ball back inside the bag, then closed her eyes, hoping to salvage some sleep. She crossed her arms and tried to control her shivering. No, she wasn’t cold. She just wanted five minutes alone with the bastard who had violated her space. Gemma almost wished the coward hadn’t bolted when she charged him, tennis racquet in hand.  

About the Author 
Armenian by heritage, born in Iran, lived in Barcelona, and escaped New York until he found his home in Los Angeles, Ara’s first eleven years were both busy and confusing. The fruit salad of languages would slow down his genetically encoded need to tell stories. Until then, an alter ego would be required… He received an engineering degree from California State University Northridge and earned his MBA from the University of Southern California. Today, he is a technology executive in the entertainment industry. True to the Hollywood life, Ara wrote for a children’s television pilot that could have made him rich (but didn’t) and nearly sold a video game to a major publisher (who closed shop days later). But something was amiss until his wife read him the riot act. “Will you stop talking about wanting to be a writer and just do it?” So with her support (and mandate), and their two boys serving as his muse, he wrote stories. Fascinated by the human species, Ara writes about choices, relationships, and second chances. Always a sucker for a hopeful ending, he writes contemporary romance stories. He is an alumnus of both the Santa Barbara Writers Conference and Southern California Writers’ Conference (where he also serves as a workshop leader). Ara is an active member of the Romance Writers of America and its Los Angeles chapter. 

Ara is represented by Stacey Donaghy.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Blog | Goodreads

Enter Ara’s Giveaway: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Perfume Review: 007 for Women

In a departure from my usual bookish posts, today I'm writing about perfume! It's not really my intention to diversify into beauty blogging, but given the bookish inspiration behind this scent (it is James Bond after all), and the fact that trnd so kindly sent me a bottle and samples to test, I feel the need to tell you all about it!
Image courtesy of trnduk

About the Fragrance
Citrus scents are thought to make you feel more alert and improve your concentration levels. So, the smell of fresh bergamot in 007 for Women will work a treat if you spritz it on before you go into that job interview. According to recent University research, the smell of musk and black pepper (both found within 007 for Women) is associated with success. Have an important meeting coming up? Spritz on your new favourite scent if you want people to come round to your way of thinking! If you want to chill out then jasmine (a sweet, subtle scent which is lovingly ensconced in the 007 for Women fragrance) is used in aromatherapy to promote relaxation and reduce stress.
And that’s just three of the ingredients; check out the full list of below:
  • Bergamot
  • Black Pepper
  • Rose Milk 
  • Blackberry 
  • Gardenia
  • Jasmine
  • Black Vanilla
  • Cedarwood
  • White Musk
Admittedly it was the branding that made me so eager to try this scent. My current signature scent is Avon's Bond Girl 007 fragrance that they released a few years ago, but sadly this has been discontinued and so I am in need of a replacement. This fits the bill nicely! I love the smell, it's sweet with an edge which is just how I like my perfumes. The only downside is that it doesn't last long on my skin and needs to be reapplied throughout the day.

Thank you so much trnd for choosing me as a product tester! Now I just need to get my boyfriend wearing 007 for men...

Monday, 9 March 2015

Review: A Stolen Season by Tamara Gill

One small mistake in the past will change everything about her future...

Archaeologist Sarah Baxter just broke one of the biggest rules of time travel: leaving a piece of 21st­ century equipment in 19th century Regency England. Unfortunately, when she goes back to retrieve it, she makes an even bigger mess of things—resulting in the death of an English Earl. Now his brother is not only out for revenge, but he also has Sarah's device. Which means an entirely different approach is needed. It doesn't occur to the new Earl of Earnston that his charming acquaintance is responsible for his brother's death. He is merely swept away by a passion that threatens his very reputation. Yet he gets the distinct impression that Miss Baxter is hiding something from him. Now Sarah must find a way to steal back her device, hide the truth about the earl's brother and—most importantly— not fall in love...

First thing's first, I love the cover to this novel, it's just gorgeous! The time-travel romance genre is new to me, and it adds an interesting twist to the usual historical romance - it's a refreshing change to find a modern heroine in the regency era! From the very start of this book you are thrown straight into the heart of the action as Sarah tries to make her escape with the 'mapping device' that she let fall into the wrong hands - with disastrous consequences. She is given a Season to get the device back once and for all, posing as an innocent debutante to get close to the man who now owns it. Eric was just gorgeous, stereotypically dark, handsome and brooding but this is never a bad thing.

It's obvious from the start that Eric and Sarah are going to end up together, but I was interested to see how they would work things out what with the small issue of her being from the future, not to mention the part that she played in Eric's brother's death. Without giving too much away I would have loved a flash-forward at the end to see how Sarah's actions had affected the future. I was also surprised at how quickly Eric forgave Sarah for her actions - I guess love really does conquer all in historical romance.

My one criticism would be that there is very little information on the actual time travel aspect of the book. What does this mysterious 'mapping device' actually do? What is the purpose of TimeArch, the time travel agency that Sarah works for? And why not just go back in time to before the botched burglary took place and save a whole lot of hassle, not to mention a man's life? But then I suppose we would have no story.

4/5 stars: A Stolen Season is an historical romance with a twist in it's tail.

*Thanks to Entangled Publishing for granting me a free copy of this book in exchange for a review*

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Blog Tour / Giveaway: Losing at Love by Jennifer Iacopelli

Today I'm excited to be taking part in the blog tour for Losing at Love, the latest novel
by Jennifer Iacopelli. Don't forget to enter the giveaway!

Grass courts, tennis whites and the fiercest competition in the world. Wimbledon. After two crazy weeks in Paris, the girls of the Outer Banks Tennis Academy are headed to London with just one thing on their minds: winning.
Indiana Gaffney is fresh off a surprise win at the French Open junior tournament. Sponsors are clamoring for her attention, but what she wants more than anything—aside from a wild card to Wimbledon—is to be with Jack Harrison, but international fame and a secret relationship rarely mix well.
When Penny Harrison dreamed of playing at Wimbledon she never imagined agonizing pain shooting through her ankle with every step. With just a month until the tournament and the whole world expecting her to win, she’s determined to play, with or without the support of her coach or the love of her life, Alex Russell.
For the first time ever, no one expects anything from Jasmine Randazzo. After a crushing first-round defeat in the French Open juniors, the tennis world has given up on her, but worse than that, so have her parents, her best friend Teddy and maybe even her coach. With everyone writing her off, can she find it within herself to go after her dreams?

Also check out the first book in the series: Game. Set. Match.

Buy Links:

Losing at Love: Amazon | BN | iTunes | Kobo | Goodreads

Game. Set. Match: Amazon | BN | iTunes | Kobo | Goodreads

I am a huge tennis fan, so as soon as I read that this book was set at Wimbledon I was sold! I haven't read the first book in the series but I had no trouble in following the story or figuring out who was who. Despite my love of the sport, I've never read any novels set in the tennis-world, and so I found it really interesting reading about the training and what goes on behind the scenes at tournaments - I definitely learnt a few things! The scene is set so well that you can easily picture the grass courts, the tennis whites and the gruelling matches. Indy, Penny and Jasmine are all characters that I warmed to instantly, and the boys were all gorgeous, especially Alex. Other reviewers have mentioned the fact that this is very much a character-driven novel, and I'm inclined to agree, but that is no criticism! The multiple viewpoint narrative works really well as we follow the lives and loves of the characters both on and off the court. I loved this book, and I now have Game. Set Match. - the first book in the series - ready and waiting to be read! Given that the first two books in the series cover the French Open and Wimbledon - two out of the four grand slams - I'm hopeful that there are another couple of novels in the pipeline too!
About the Author
Jennifer Iacopelli was born in New York and has no plans to leave...ever. Growing up, she read everything she could get her hands on, but her favorite authors were Laura Ingalls Wilder, L.M. Montgomery and Frances Hodgson Burnett all of whom wrote about kick-ass girls before it was cool for girls to be kick-ass. She got a Bachelor's degree in Adolescence Education and English Literature quickly followed up by a Master's in Library Science, which lets her frolic all day with her books and computers, leaving plenty of time in the evenings to write and yell at the Yankees, Giants and her favorite tennis players through the TV.

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