Monday, 25 May 2015

Blog Tour / Giveaway: Little Acts of Love (Mishaps in Millrise #1) by Tilly Tennant

Today I'm kicking off the blog tour for Little Acts of Love by Tilly Tennant!
Read on to find out more, and don't forget to enter the giveaway!

Mishaps in Millrise – a four-(novella)-part romantic spin-off from Mishaps and Mistletoe

If you’re new to the town of Millrise, then come and meet the residents. If you fell in love with Phoebe and Jack last Christmas in Mishaps and Mistletoe, then you’ve just been invited to the best reunion ever…

Little Acts of Love:  Mishaps in Millrise Part 1

Almost five months have passed since Phoebe and Jack first met in the grotto of a drunken Santa at Hendry’s toy store in Millrise.  Since then, Jack and his adorable daughter, Maria, have turned Phoebe’s life around.  As she and Jack get closer, Phoebe decides it’s time to put her stagnating career back on track too, which means going for a big promotion at work.

But nothing is ever simple in the strange little world of Hendry’s, and Phoebe is soon wishing she’d stayed on the tills.  At home, things aren’t much better as the couple brace themselves to meet their respective in-laws.  It’s clear from the start that making friends and influencing people has never been harder.  And to make it worse, Phoebe must compete for the affection of Jack’s parents with the perfect girlfriend and mother – who’s been dead for five years…

Buy links: Amazon UK

Firstly I have to say that I love the cover! A someone who hasn't yet read Mishaps and Mistletoe I can guarantee that this series can also be read as a standalone - it all makes sense without knowledge of the previous book.  I liked Phoebe and Jack, and I sense trouble for them now that Hendry junior is on the scene! My favourite character without a doubt though is Midnight - she's just brilliant and I wish I had a friend like her! In true Tilly Tennant style this story is told with humour and heart, with characters that you can't wait to read more about. It ended just as things were getting really interesting, so I'm eagerly anticipating the next installment!

About the Author
Tilly Tennant was born in Dorset, the oldest of four children, but now lives in Staffordshire with a family of her own. After years of dismal and disastrous jobs, including paper plate stacking, shop girl, newspaper promotions and waitressing (she never could carry a bowl of soup without spilling a bit), she decided to indulge her passion for the written word by embarking on a degree in English and creative writing, graduating in 2009 with first class honours. She wrote her first novel in 2007 during her first summer break at university and has not stopped writing since. She also works as a freelance fiction editor, and considers herself very lucky that this enables her to read many wonderful books before the rest of the world gets them.

Author Links: Website    Twitter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 22 May 2015

Review: Wolf Bride by Elizabeth Moss

Bound to him against her will…

Lord Wolf, hardened soldier and expert lover, has come to King Henry VIII's court to claim his new bride: a girl who has intrigued him since he first saw her riding across the Yorkshire moors.

Eloise Tyrell, now lady-in-waiting to Queen Anne Boleyn, has other ideas. She has no desire to submit to a man she barely knows and who-though she is loath to admit it-frightens her more than a little.

Their first kiss awakens in both a fierce desire that bares them to the soul. But as the court erupts into scandal around the ill-fated Queen, Eloise sees first hand what happens when powerful men tire of their wives...

First of all, ignore the sticker on the front of this book. Fifty Shades this is not, and I'm saying this as a fan of the series. Granted, the chemistry between Eloise and Wolf (I don't think he has a first name) is sizzling hot but that is where the similarities end. Eloise is a headstrong young woman, determined not to be forced into marriage without a fight. Wolf is a man used to getting his own way, and gets more than he bargained for in Eloise. Just as they are settling into their marriage, and reluctantly coming to terms with their feelings towards one another they are summoned back to court for the trial of Queen Anne - where Eloise is required to give testimony. The intrigue of the Tudor court is brilliantly captured, there really were eyes and ears everywhere, and it's interesting to have the well known tale of Anne's demise told through the eyes of the courtiers for a change. There is certainly more to be said about the relationship between Eloise's sister Susannah and Hugh Beaufort, so I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series! One thing that irked me about this book though is the blatant comparisons to Hilary Mantel - even going so far to have the hero as Lord Wolf of Wolf Hall! A bit of originality wouldn't have gone amiss there. 4/5 stars

*Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for a review!*

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Review: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Love isn't an exact science - but no one told Don Tillman that. A thirty-nine-year-old geneticist, Don's never had a second date. So he devises the Wife Project, a scientific test to find the perfect partner. Enter Rosie - 'the world's most incompatible woman' - throwing Don's safe, ordered life into chaos. But what is this unsettling, alien emotion he's feeling?

This is an absolute gem of a book, and I can't believe it's taken me so long to get around to reading it! Once I started I couldn't put it down - Don's narrative voice is just so endearing. I tend to avoid 'rom-com' style books as I find them a bit cringeworthy, but that's certainly not the case here. This book is brilliantly written - it really made me smile, even laugh out loud in places, and I hope that when the inevitable film adaptation comes along the director will be able to do it justice. Don's character reminds me exactly of a guy I went to university with - his mannerisms and his vocabulary are just so similar, and I think this is partly why I liked Don as much as I did. The book is a unique concept, with a unique main character, and it is memorable for all the right reasons. It's definitely up there as one of the best books that I've read so far this year, and I'm glad there is a sequel as I can't wait to read more about Don and Rosie's adventures through the trials of love and marriage.

5/5 stars: Love is strange, love is unexpected, love is irrational. Such is life.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Blog Tour / Giveaway: Country Affairs by Zara Stoneley

Today I'm excited to be kicking off the blog tour for Country Affairs, the second book in the Tippermere series by Zara Stoneley. I absolutely love this series! Read on to find out more,
and don't forget to enter the giveaway!

About the Book
'A great treat for readers who love their books jam-packed with sexy men and horses.' Bestselling author Fiona Walker

It’s time to get back in the saddle with the follow up to the deliciously naughty Stable Mates!

Swapping her spurs for stilettoes and becoming Lady of the Manor is not on loveable, but scatty, Lottie’s life plan. Nor does she have the faintest idea how to rescue it from rack and ruin. But with footballer’s wife Sam on the case, determined to bring glamour to the manor, and fun-loving eventer Rory egging them on, nothing can possibly go wrong, can it?

Todd never forgave himself for abandoning Lottie on a Barcelona beach, but now he’s tracked her down and he’s ready to kiss and make up. With a roving eye and his roguish grin he soon has more than one girl in Tippermere going weak at the knees, but why is he really there?

With wedding plans going awry, unexpected pregnancies and relationships starting to look rocky, will Lottie ever be ready to accept her inheritance and help Tipping House Estate move into the 21st Century?

Praise for Stable Mates –

'A delightful romp peppered with humour, sadness, scandal and steamy sex.'

'...reminded me of Jilly Cooper whose books I grew up with. Stable Mates is up there with Riders and Rivals. If you loved these books then you will love this one'

'...the perfect mix of horsey shenanigans, Cheshire glamour and flirty fun.'

'...reminded me of the Tilly Bagshawe novels I love, with all the scandal and drama. I don’t think I’ve read another author who writes in that kind of style without finding negative comparisons but Zara Stoneley comes into her own'

'a really impressive read.'

'Fun, Frothy & a Good Weekend Read'

'An unexpected FUN read that should not be missed by anyone. I would say I laughed at almost every page! '
Buy Links: Amazon UK    Amazon UK Paperback    Foyles    Waterstones    iTunes 
                   Google Play    Blackwells

I adored the first book in the Tippermere series, Stable Mates, and so I jumped at the chance to read and review the sequel - I couldn't wait to find out what happened to the characters next! I wasn't disappointed! This series has a wonderful cast of characters, both human and animal, and they are just so much fun to read! As a country girl myself I can completely relate to Lottie - right down to the mismatched socks and untamed hair - it's all part of country living!

Unfortunately in my village I don't have quite the same options as Lottie when it comes to men. I'm quite picky when it comes to book boyfriends, so to find myself in love with not just one but TWO gorgeous men was a delight! On the one hand we have the dark and handsome (and Irish!) farrier Mick, on the other the cheeky and carefree eventer Rory. I found myself completely torn between the two of them - and right up until the last chapter I couldn't decide which one of them I wanted Lottie to end up with. But the ending was just so perfect that it couldn't have happened any other way, and it left me with a huge smile on my face.

There is a real sense of community about these books, as all of the characters pull together - be it for a wedding, a cricket match, or to save Tipping House Estate. Each character has their own important role to play; to name but a few there's Pip, the journalist who is slowly tiring of life in the slow lane, Sam, the footballer's wife with a heart of gold, 'bronco' Billy Brinkley, Lottie's grumpy but loveable father, and Tab, the teenage goth turned horse groomer with a shameless crush on Rory. As always though, the best lines in the novel fall to Lady Elizabeth Stanthorpe - Lottie's grandmother. Rarely seen without a G&T and her beloved labradors, she makes it her business to know everything that goes on in Tippermere, whilst orchestrating a fair few dramas herself!

It's worth stating that this book can be read as a standalone - there's a handy cast list at the start to let you know who's who, and plenty of recap of what happened in the previous book. However I would highly recommend reading Stable Mates first for the true Tippermere experience! The informal style of writing endears you to the characters - I feel as if I know them as well as I know my friends in real life - and I don't want their stories to end. There's a fair few loose ends left at the end of the book, which give me strong suspicions (and hope) that there must surely be a third in the pipeline - in which case I am booking my spot on the blog tour right now!

5/5 stars: Packed with fun, frolics, and an unforgettable cast of characters, Country Affairs is a must-read this summer!

You can check out my review of the first book in the series, Stable Mateshere.

About the Author
Bestselling author Zara Stoneley lives in deepest Cheshire surrounded by horses, dogs, cats and amazing countryside. When she's not visiting wine bars, artisan markets or admiring the scenery in her sexy high heels or green wellies, she can be found in flip flops on the beach in Barcelona, or more likely sampling the tapas!

Zara writes hot romance and bonkbusters. Her latest novels, 'Stable Mates' and ‘Country Affairs’, are fun romps through the Cheshire countryside and combine some of her greatest loves - horses, dogs, hot men and strong women (and not forgetting champagne and fast cars)! 

She writes for Harper Collins and Accent Press.

Links: Website    Twitter    Facebook    Google+

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Review: The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett

Some moments can change your life for ever. Have you ever wondered, what if...?

A man is walking down a country lane. A woman, cycling towards him, swerves to avoid a dog. On that moment, their future hinges. There are three possible outcomes, three small decisions that could determine the rest of their life.

Eva and Jim are nineteen and students at Cambridge when their paths first cross in 1958. And then there is David, Eva's then-lover, an ambitious actor who loves Eva deeply. The Versions of Us follows the three different courses their lives could take following this first meeting. Lives filled with love, betrayal, ambition but through it all is a deep connection that endures whatever fate might throw at them.

The Versions of Us explores the idea that there are moments when our lives might have turned out differently, the tiny factors or decisions that could determine our fate, and the precarious nature of the foundations upon which we build our lives. It is also a story about the nature of love and how it grows, changes and evolves as we go through the vagaries of life.

2015 seems to be the year of the debut - I've read so many amazing books by new authors already!

The premise of the plot of The Versions of Us immediately appealed to me - it definitely draws comparisons with the film Sliding Doors which I love. I like stories like this as they make me reflect on the 'what if' moments of my own life and wonder how different it could have been.

When Jim and Eva initially meet they seem destined for each other - Eva a bright English student, Jim the quintessential 1950s Cambridge boy. From their initial encounter on the Cambridge backs the three narratives take the pair in very different directions, yet there is always a connection between them somehow. I had a quote ringing in my head while I was reading this: 'if two people are meant to be together, eventually they'll find their way back.' Upon googling said quote just now I've discovered it was from the TV series Gossip Girl of all places, but it still seems apt for Eva and Jim.

The three strands of narrative are different enough to enable you to keep track of them, yet they are also all completely believable alternatives. It's especially interesting how specific events are dealt with across all three strands, such as birthday parties and funerals, as these allow you to really see how differently things could have turned out for Eva and Jim. It's hard to say which narrative I liked best, as none of them turn out the way you expect them to, and they are as full of unexpected twists and turns as life itself.

The characters too, are far from perfect - I found myself wanting to shake some sense into them many times throughout the course of the narratives. Eva and Jim are written as real people who make mistakes, they are far from the picture perfect fictional stereotypes, and although this makes a refreshing change, it also meant that I didn't like them all that much. The Versions of Us has been likened to David Nicholls' One Day, and I'm inclined to agree. However, I'm in the minority of people who actually didn't like One Day - I found Emma and Dexter impossible to care about. I much preferred The Versions of Us, but encountered the same problem with Eva and Jim - the book covers such a large time span that the characters mature and change so quickly that it's impossible to truly get to know them - but then I suppose this demonstrates just how much a person can change in a lifetime!

I'll also warn you that when children/grandchildren/nieces/siblings come onto the scene it becomes a little difficult keeping track of who's who across each of the three narratives and I had to look back occasionally to remind myself. I find it interesting that although Eva and Jim's lives are very different across the narratives, for the other characters their lives and partners etc. remain the same - but then again if everything was different then it really would be impossible to follow! 

The moral of the story is simply this: there is no such thing as the perfect life, and there is no such thing as the perfect person. Every choice you make has consequences, and every character has their flaws. As a whole, I really liked this novel. It's a very clever idea and is incredibly well written, especially for a debut. The writing style is just wonderful, and I can't wait to read more from Laura!

4/5 stars: Moving, thought-provoking and very cleverly written, The Versions of Us is a brilliant concept of a novel that will make you pause and reflect on your own life.

*Thanks to Rebecca Gray at W&N Fiction for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for a review!*

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Mega May Book Haul

A new month brings with it a whole load of new books to get my teeth into. I still have loads of reviews to write up, so watch this space for those, but until then feast your eyes on these beauties!

First we have these two gorgeous titles courtesy of Pan Macmillan - I was only expecting a bookmark! These should fill the Poldark shaped void in my life nicely until the next series airs.

Next up, my Bookbridgr haul. I may have got a little carried away with the request button...

And last but not least, my library picks for the month. I already have five other titles on loan which I renewed (oops), but I couldn't resist picking up these two:

Have you read any of these? What's new on your shelves this month?