Book Review ~ ‘Marry for Love’ by Christina Courtenay.

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Marry for Love by Christina Courtenay.
Genres: Regency Historical, Romance
Release Date: 11th January 2016.
Publisher: Choc Lit

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SYNOPSIS

Trapped in an intolerable marriage?

Delilah cannot bear to watch as her twin sister Deborah marries Hamish Baillie, Fourth Earl of Blackwood. Not only because she knows that her conniving sister has manipulated the poor man into marriage, but also because she has been in love with the Earl since she first set eyes on him …

Delilah is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to save Hamish from a life of unhappiness – but will her plan work, or will she have to accept that she is no match for her twin’s scheming ways?

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Book Review ~ ‘Marry for Love’ by Christina Courtenay ~ 5 Stars!

Christina Courtenay is one of my favourite historical romance writers. Every time I sit down to read one of her books, I just know I’m in for some fabulous storytelling, and ‘Marry for Love’ is no exception.

As a novella, this was the perfect evening read for a frosty night, when you just want to be curled up with a good book. I was transported away to regency England and the world of devious debutante scheming, all masked in polite society. Deborah was a nasty piece of work, and I loved to hate her. Her limits knew no ends when it came to making her sister Delilah’s life miserable. Having them as identical twins made the story even more exciting as we see that some of the tricks Deborah used have changed little over time with many a twin I know using the same tricks today.

I loved Delilah’s fierce sense of duty, and really connected to her as a character, especially when we see that, despie loving Hamish, she refuses to let him marry her out of his sense of duty, and is content instead in the knowledge that he can now marry who he likes. Hamish was a dashing regency hero who made me swoon on many an occasion. I liked how he was portrayed as a little bit of a rogue at first, but shown to be an honest man and employer throughout the book.

There is so much that I loved about ‘Marry for Love’, and I can’t wait to return to Christina Courtenay’s Regency world soon.

5 Stars!


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Book Review ~ ‘As Weekends Go’ by Jan Brigden.

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As Weekends Go by Jan Brigden.
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: 10th December 2015.
Publisher: Choc Lit

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SYNOPSIS

What if your entire life changed in the space of a weekend?

When Rebecca’s friend Abi convinces her to get away from it all at the fabulous Hawksley Manor hotel in York, it seems too good to be true. Pampering and relaxation is just what Rebecca needs to distract herself from the creeping suspicion that her husband, Greg, is hiding something from her.

She never imagined that by the end of the weekend she would have dined with celebrities or danced the night away in exclusive clubs. Nor could she have predicted she would meet famous footballer, Alex Heath, or that he would be the one to show her that she deserved so much more …

But no matter how amazing a weekend is, it’s always back to reality come Monday morning – isn’t it?

2014/15 Winner of Choc Lit & Whole Story Audiobooks Search for a Star competition.

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Book Review ~ ‘As Weekends Go’ by Jan Brigden ~ 5 Stars!

We all know that when you escape reality for a weekend, it’s always hard to return. Jan Brigden turns a girly spa weekend into a couple of days that will change the lives of everyone involved, and I loved it!

Rebecca was a fantastically developed character, and throughout the novel we see her progress and grow from a shy, understated and downtrodden wife to a woman who refuses to let her worth go to waste. I loved her passion for life, her hopes and aims for the future, but felt for her when we learn that in her marriage, she struggles to make herself heard. I loved to hate her husband, and was so intrigued to read the scenes written from his point of view. They made me both pity him for the issues he’d obviously held onto for years, and loathe him for how genuinely uncaring he was to Rebecca and the little regard he had for her feelings.

When we are introduced to Alex Heath, I had to make a little happy sigh. It was great to see another side to a footballer being portrayed, and not just what the public are shown. His enthusiasm for his sport, and his dedication to his chosen career is clear and seeing how he worked so hard at helping Rebecca feel comfortable with him was swoonworthy. Together he and Rebecca grow as people and it was heartwarming to witness.

Jan Brigden did a really great job at showing us sides to the characters that we wouldn’t have seen otherwise. We see Greg, Nick, Abi and Kenny’s from their own perspectives, and it made the characters more real to me.

Although quite a long book, ‘As Weekends Go’ didn’t drag. It was the perfect length and paced perfectly. I liked how Rebecca and Alex’s relationship wasn’t rushed and how Rebecca didn’t make any sudden decisions or changes when it came to her marriage. It made the pain they both felt at being separated, and Rebecca’s inner turmoil at whether or not her marriage was beyond saving, more realistic and all the more emotional to read.

5 Stars!


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Book Review ~ ‘Your Irresistible Love’ by Layla Hagen.

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Your Irresistible Love by Layla Hagen
(The Bennett Family #1)
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: 14th January 2015.

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Sebastian Bennett is a determined man. It’s the secret behind the business empire he built from scratch. Under his rule, Bennett Enterprises dominates the jewelry industry. Despite being ruthless in his work, family comes first for him, and he’d do anything for his parents and eight siblings—even if they drive him crazy sometimes. . . like when they keep nagging him to get married already.

Sebastian doesn’t believe in love, until he brings in external marketing consultant Ava to oversee the next collection launch. She’s beautiful, funny, and just as stubborn as he is. Not only is he obsessed with her delicious curves, but he also finds himself willing to do anything to make her smile.
He’s determined to have Ava, even if she’s completely off limits.

Ava Lindt has one job to do at Bennett Enterprises: make the next collection launch unforgettable. Daydreaming about the hot CEO is definitely not on her to-do list. Neither is doing said CEO. The consultancy she works for has a strict policy—no fraternizing with clients. She won’t risk her job. Besides, Ava knows better than to trust men with her heart.

But their sizzling chemistry spirals into a deep connection that takes both of them by surprise. Sebastian blows through her defenses one sweet kiss and sinful touch at a time. When Ava’s time as a consultant in his company comes to an end, will Sebastian fight for the woman he loves or will he end up losing her?

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Book Review ~ ‘Your Irresistible Love’ by Layla Hagen ~ 5 Stars!

Fun, Flirty and Fabulous, ‘Your Irresistible Love’ is a feel-good story that will have you all gooey inside!

Our heroine Ava is a strong, determined and independent woman, making her the perfect match for the hard-working, ever faithful and fiercely protective CEO of Bennett Enterprises. Their chemistry was off the charts, but it was her sass, and the natural banter the two shared right from the off that made their story resonate so much with me. They didn’t fall head over heels in love at first sight, instead they had a brilliant flirty relationship, a firm friendship and a later blossoming of natural romance which didn’t feel at all rushed or forced. I always understood that Ava wanted to give her job everything she could.

Sebastian Bennett was a delicious specimen of hero. He was hard when he needed to be yet still fair, and seeing the strong relationship he had with his family and his determination to help his family and pay them back with the same kindness he’d received from them, was heartwarming. The scenes where the Bennett family are all congregated were so well written, and we get to see some great, well-developed characters that I have a feeling we’ll be seeing more of in the future. The way that Ava was included in the family was so lovely, and there were some beautiful scenes where we see just how much she misses having her mother with her.

There is intrigue, glamour and misunderstandings, but at its heart, ‘Your Irresistible Love’ is a warm, fun romance with a spicy edge.

5 Stars!


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Layla Hagen

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Book Review ~ ‘Jessica’s Christmas Kiss’ by Alison May.

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Jessica’s Christmas Kiss by Alison May
(Christmas Kisses #3)
Genres: Romance, Contemporary,
Release Date: December 13th 2015.

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SYNOPSIS

Real Christmas miracles only ever happen in the movies – don’t they?

When Jessica was fifteen, she shared the perfect kiss with a mystery boy at a Christmas party. It might have only lasted a moment, and the boy might have disappeared shortly afterwards but, to Jessica, it was just a little bit magic.

Fourteen years later, and Jessica is faced with a less than magical Christmas after uncovering her husband’s secret affair. And, whilst she wouldn’t admit it, she sometimes finds herself thinking about that perfect Christmas kiss, back when her life still seemed full of hope and possibility.

But she never would have guessed that the boy she kissed in the kitchen all those years ago might still think about her too …

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Book Review ~ ‘Jessica’s Christmas Kiss’ by Alison May ~ 5 Stars!

What a lovely, heart-warming festive read! Alison May knows how to pack in the feel-good feels and the heart-string tugs all in one beautiful package.

The third in the ‘Christmas Kisses’ series (akthough can be read as a standalone) we are invited into Jessica’s world of pain, insecurity and rejection as she strives to make Christmas special with her husband after discovering earlier in the year that he’d been having an affair. We see Jessica as a fifteen year old romantic, who shares her first kiss with an enigmatic stranger at a Christmas party, become a worn-down wife to a different man. Alison May brilliantly highlighted the changes that life had made of Jessica, and from the get-go, I really wanted her to get her happy ending.

Lucas was the perfect hero. With a secret past, and many painful memories and regret which hold him back from living his life to the full, he is a true gentleman who made me smile. His relationship with his housemates was so great to read, and I laughed at their scenes together. And when Jessica is going through the worst time in her life, Lucas is there for her, and together they begin to live their life the way they feel they deserve.

I adored this little story that takes place over three different time-zones. The character development was brilliant and there was some heart-melting moments, as well as some tearful ones.

5 Stars!


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Book Review ~ ‘The Last of the Firedrakes’ by Farah Oomerbhoy.

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The Last of the Firedrakes by Farah Oomerbhoy.
(The Avalonia Chronicles #1)
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Release Date: August 15th 2015.

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SYNOPSIS

16-year-old Aurora Darlington is an orphan. Mistreated by her adopted family and bullied at school, she dreams of running away and being free. But when she is kidnapped and dragged through a portal into a magical world, suddenly her old life doesn’t seem so bad.

Avalonia is a dangerous land ruled by powerful mages and a cruel, selfish queen who will do anything to control all seven kingdoms—including killing anyone who stands in her way. Thrust headlong into this new, magical world, Aurora’s arrival sets plans in motion that threaten to destroy all she holds dear.

With the help of a young fae, a magical pegasus, and a handsome mage, Aurora journeys across Avalonia to learn the truth about her past and unleash the power within herself. Kingdoms collide as a complicated web of political intrigue and ancient magic lead Aurora to unravel a shocking secret that will change her life forever.

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Book Review ~ ‘The Last of the Firedrakes’ by Farah Oomerbhoy ~ 3.5 Stars!

I’m going to start off this review by saying to the author; Well done. Fantasy is a tough genre to write, there are so many rules and, particularly as a debut author, Farah Oomerbhoy has done a pretty good job. I enjoyed ‘The Last of the Firedrakes’ and I look forward to seeing where Aurora’s journey takes her in the next book.

This review will look mostly at some of the issues that I feel Oomerbhoy may have come up against when writing this novel, and how some of these may have slipped through into the final novel. But this is all constructive and I really do want other readers to have a look for themselves and enjoy the book for what it is; a very solid, exciting Young Adult Fantasy novel.

World building is hard in fantasy. It’s not so easy as making a land and moving from one place to another within it. There are so many things involved such as the kingdoms, the politics, the different creatures in each land and particularly the culture. Oomerbhoy brilliantly crafts a land where politics is key, and I really had a feel for the different agendas of the people we met.

There were a few parts that felt a little too out-of-reality for me. I love my fantasy for what it is; make-believe, but I always feel there needs to be an element of it that is believable, especially within the context of this world. For example, on many occassions our characters appear so quickly from one kingdom to another, almost outbeating a magical pegasus, and the explanation given is the old fae secret passages. I felt this was almost too easy, and felt let down that they didn’t have to struggle to get to each place. Imagine if Middle Earth had elven passages beneath Mordor. Frodo’s journey would have been a lot easier, and very much less enjoyable  to read.

The magical Pegasus ‘Snow’ as mentioned above, also seemed to appear at the most timely of occassions, particularly when our young heroine was in danger. It seemed to give her an out from some of the battles she no doubt would have faced without her there.

The reason for Aurora being brought into the land of Avalonia also seemed too unlikely for me. Her evil aunt Morgana feared that her neice, who knew nothing of Avalonia, magic, fae or even that she had an aunt, so had her brought through the veil to Avalonia in order to kill her and keep the throne her own? Wouldnt’ it be easier to just leave Aurora unaware in the other land where she can do no harm to Morgana anyway?

Character development, however, was what drove the story on. Rafe is a top book-boyfriend and I loved the array of characters that Aurora meets and befriends throughout the book. The author’s writing style was also so crisp and beautiful!

Overall this book was a enjoyable escape into the magical land of Avalonia. I’m looking forward to seeing where Rafe, Aurora and Kalen go next.

3.5 Stars!

*Review copy provided through Xpresso Book Tours Review Opportunities, in exchange for an honest review*


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Farah Oomerbhoy

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Release Blitz ~ ‘What Happens After’ by Portia Moore.

 

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It was never supposed to happen. ‘We’ never should have happened.

He and I… Our constantly crossing paths changed the unthinkable to the inevitable.

It was magical, exhilarating, and life defining… despicable, and it ruined everything.

It destroyed me.

It destroyed us.

He and I is what happened before.

And everything else is what happened after…

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It’s always the same question every single time. He looks at me with his eyes full of sadness, his expression full of embarrassment, and I hate it! That question always makes me feel terrible, as if we just did something wrong… which we have, but I hate that he’s conscious of it, that he reminds me of it. As if I said ‘no this is wrong, terribly wrong, I’m in love with you, and I want to be with you,’ it’s something he wants to hear.

“Yeah,” I say, my throat burning. He looks at me, and I turn my face away, feeling a tear escape.

“Lisa.” His voice is full of sorrow, fear, and every other depressing feeling that makes me want to vomit.

Anger starts to consume me, and it replaces the hesitancy I usually have to say the words I’ve wanted to say for so long. “I love you, Will.”

There’s silence, and each second cuts through me. When my eyes meet his, I see a storm in them, and I don’t care. I want him to say something. Anything.

“You know I…” His voice is weak, his expression full of confusion as if to say Why on earth? How dare you?

“I love you, Will!” I say louder.

He doesn’t say anything but sits on the edge of the bed, as if my words have knocked him out. I cry, and I know it’s making things worse, but I can’t help it now. My resolve is in tatters.

I get off the bed and stand in front of him, naked and vulnerable. “I know it’s wrong. I know you said that this would happen. I know all of this, but can you at least say something? Can you at least try to make me feel just a little bit better about it?”

I only see deadness behind his eyes, as if he’s left himself and only his body is here with me.

“I want to be loved how you love her! Is that too much to ask? Does just wanting to be loved make me terrible person?” I ask desperately, and his eyes water.

“No, it doesn’t,” he says softly. “But it makes me a terrible person.” He stands up from my bed, grabs the sheet, and wraps it around me. He kisses my forehead and looks into my eyes. “I can’t love you how you want me to, Lisa, how you should be loved.”

I feel my heart race. Why did I say that? I feel anxious and angry with myself. “I’m sorry.”

I hug him, but he doesn’t hug me back. Anxiety courses through me. It was too much, I knew it was, but I couldn’t keep the words from leaving.

“I won’t ever bring this up again. Just please don’t be mad. Just forget I said it.”

“I think we… this is destroying you. I can’t do this to you anymore,” he says, going to the door.

I jump in front of it. He looks at me sympathetically but gently moves me out of the way. I follow him through my quiet, dark house to the back door. When he opens it, the cold air hits me. The sky’s still dark aside from the tiny light on my back porch. He goes down the porch and looks back at me.

“Good night, Lisa,” he says quietly before disappearing down the street into the darkness. His truck is parked almost four blocks up in its usual spot.

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I’m obsessed with blowing kisses. I guess that makes me a romantic. I love books and cute boys and reading about cute boys in books.I’m infatuated with the glamour girls of the past: Audrey,Dorothy,Marilyn,Elizabeth.

I’m a self confessed girly girl,book nerd,food enthusiast, and comic book fan. Odd combination huh, you have no idea…

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Book Review ~ ‘What Doesn’t Kill You’ by Laura E. James.

 

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What Doesn’t Kill You by Laura E. James
Genres: Dark Choc Lit, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Choc Lit UK

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SYNOPSIS

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger – but how strong can one person be?

Griff Hendry knows what it is to be strong. After a turbulent past, he’s dedicated himself to saving lives, working as a coastguard along the breath-taking shores of Dorset. It’s Griff’s belief that everyone is worth saving – which is why he can’t forgive his father, Logan, for what he did.
Griff’s future is plunged into uncertainty when his wife, Evie, tells him she wants a separation. The revelation is a shock and leads Griff to question what Evie could possibly be hiding – and she isn’t the only one holding back. Griff’s troubled stepdaughter, Tess, also harbours a dark secret.

As the truth is uncovered, Griff is forced to accept that perhaps he’s never understood what real strength is.

From Dark Choc Lit – compelling, emotional, hard-hitting novels. Not your typical romance story.

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Book Review ~ ‘What Doesn’t Kill You’ by Laura E. James ~ 5 Stars!

Wow, what a spine-tingling novel Laura E. James has delivered with ‘What Doesn’t Kill You’. Part of Choc Lit’s Dark imprint, James’ latest novel is a hard hitting story of love, family and betrayal in its many forms.

We follow this story from various characters points-of-view, all of whom we grow to love and cherish as the novel goes on. Griff, the hero of our story, is in the middle of watching his marriage crumble, yet unable to fix it. I loved seeing his perspective on his relationship with Evie, and his hopelessness in understanding why his wife is so distant. Evie has her own problems, not helped by her estrangement with Griff which she has the added guilt of having pushed him away. The dilemma she faces in trying to help Griff’s ailing father who wants her to aid him in his attempt to euthanise himself, and keeping her own family safe all wells up within her, andnd Laura James does a fantastic job at adding the pressure to Evie’s perspective and making the reader feel Evie’s stress that is constantly growing.

The perspective that I grew to love the most was of Evie’s teenage daughter Tess. Seeing the conflicting thoughts of this girl who has had a traumatic past, an uncertain future, and demons that she can’t share, was so heartbreaking that watching her develop and grow throughout the novel was something to treasure. As outside forces try to pull the only family that Tess has ever known apart, she is the one who shows the most strength and is the glue that fits the broken family together.

This story is a heartbreaking one. There are demons of the past that won’t let go, promises for the future that can’t be trusted, but most of all, a love so strong that giving up is not an option.

5 Stars!


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Laura E. James

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