Sunday, 26 July 2015

Scandalous Lies by Nigel May

Lovers and liars, divas and sinners, welcome to the world of scandal, where one woman will pay the ultimate price.

SUSPENCE: Georgia's best friend, ballroom dancing sensation Mitzi, has vanished with boyfriend Forster while on holiday in California. Can Georgia get to the thruth of their disappearance before it's too late?

SECRETS: Reality TV star Nova could give the Kardashians a run for their money. But while she allows millions of viewers into her fabulous home, she's unaware what her husband, celebrity mogul Jacob, is up to behind closed doors...

SEX: Tanya is filthy rich, married to a man who adores her but she is restless. And her sexual appetite is about to get her in a whole lot of trouble.

SCANDAL: Victoria once a trophy wife, has lost her mojo. Determined to get her life back on track, she's desperate to inject some excitement in to her life - but at what cost?

From the glitz of Hollywood to the glamour of Milan and the exotic luxury of India, Scandalous Lies is a deliciously unputdownable read.

*May Contain Spoilers*

Wowzers!! Scandalous Lies had more twist and turns than a rollercoaster at Blackpool Pleasure Beach!

Ive not read any of Nigel May books previously, but I have read other 'BonkBusters' since the 50 Shades hype, and can honestly say this, was by far, the most gripping... 

I was hooked right from the prologue in which tells a brief story of the life of Mitzi Bidgood. A former Zumba teacher that got her break as a backing dancer for a popular Saturday night TV dance show, who successfully made her way to become one of the lead female dancers, and her surfing, garden maintenance turned turned reality star boyfriend Forster Hampton - both equally successful in their own rights, both blissfully in love and on holiday, unaware of their fate. After discovering something horrific, they run for their lives only this doesn't quite work out as planned and both are reported missing.

Now, Scandalous Lies, has a lot of characters in, and I'm going to try and do my upmost to not give out too many spoilers, but what I adored about the book is how the characters are linked... Some obvious links, some not so... Which, along with the twist and turns of the plot, made this one heck of a page turner....

Georgia is a weather girl for breakfast TV, dating the dashing Charlie Cooper. Her best friend is missing Mitzi and she is distraught with worry, taking time off work she set off to Hollywood in search of clues on the disappearance.
Nova, has her own reality TV show and is quite literally the biggest, in more ways than one, Showbiz queen. She also just so happens to be the mother of Charlie boy! Dispite her diva ways, one thing is clear, Nova would move heaven and earth for her son, she's very protective of both him and his girlfriend, and although she didn't know Mitzi, she has known grief and a sense of loss which brings her closer to Georgia.

See where the links are going?

Tanya is, as the blurb states... Rich beyond rich! Married to Devon Bellamy, Georgia's father, she has an incredibly high, and explicit, sex drive. Particularly when it comes to their gardener Aaron Rose - another  surfing gardener who was set to be the next parter of Mitzi on the dance show.
And then there's Victoria, who was happily married to Scott Palmer -Robers, but since birth of their twins six years ago, Victoria's life is spiralling out of control. She's lost all confidence in her self and is taking anti depressants in secret. The final blow comes when she discovers her hubby has been having a fling with the kids nanny, Chloe.
Victoria confides in her friend Evie - a successful film actress, the pair of them where part of Mitzi's Zumba gamg along with Georgia.

There are other characters too... Ones that took me a while longer to work out the clues and links with, but generally the theme of the book is based around their ties to each other and of course to Mitzi, and all the characters come together at a very eventful charity event.
At this point, I thought I had the story nailed.... How wrong was I? 
There were, as I've said, twist and turns but I was NOT expecting that one!!! 

I can't praise Nigel May enough for how brilliantly this was written. 
Yes there was the occasional smuty scene but above that there was lies, deceit, family secrets, heart break, scandals,  passion, addiction, sparkle, glamour and fizz.... Not forgetting one serious plot game changer!
Despite having so much crammed in to one book, it flowed perfectly without losing the reader or getting confusing.

I don't usually give out ratings or stars on my blog, but if I were too, without a shadow of a doubt this would easily get 5/5! 

A thoroughly enjoyable, gripping and exciting summer read. 

I would like to thank both Nigel May and Bookouture for a preview copy of Scandalous Lies from NetGalley. This is my honest opinion.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Fairytale Beginnings by Holly Martin

Love is an open door... Except when it keeps slamming in your face.

Hopeless romantic Milly Rose has had her fair share of heartbreak. Obsessed with all things Disney, she refuses to give up on Prince Charming - he's out there somewhere isn't he?

When Milły is given a job to investigate the origins of a historical building in the village of Clovers Rest, she's not sure what to expect. What she discovers takes her breathe away - a beautiful real life Cinderella castle, complete with turrets, a magnificent drawbridge AND a very handsome owner... Cameron Heartstone.

As Milly and Cameron begin to unearth the secrets of Clover Castle, they can't ignore he intense chemistry building between them. They've both been badly hurt before. Can they take a big leap of faith and find their own happily - ever -after?

*May Contain Spoilers*

I've seen a huge amount of interest in Fairytale Beginngs down my Twitter feed everytime I've logged on lately, the cover to the book is quite simply adorable and inviting so when I saw I had the chance to grab a copy I jumped at the chance.

Having never read one of Holly Martins books before I wasn't sure what to expect,but on opening the book, stupidly just before work allowing myself to only read the first two chapters, I was completely take under the magical spell of Milly and Cameron's story.

We start by being introduced to Milly trying to find Clover Castle, a mysterious place that historic loving Milly has been unable to find any information on. She arrives in the quirky village of Clovers Rest, which is complete with its own unique buildings and residence.
Once Milly finds Clover Castle she is bustled to the ground by the owners dog. The owner is the strapping Cameron Heartstone, who has hired Milly to come and look into the castle and advise him on his options moving forward - their first encounter was him being far to heavy handed in helping Milly standup, resulting in him touching her in places that certainly should only follow a romantic dinner... Not being slobbered on by a great big dog! 

Cameron has inherited the castle and all its debt and quite frankly would just like to get rid of it, however over the next few days, the discovery of hidden underground tunnels and Molly's infectious optimism and love for the old building starts to rub off on him.
When summer solstice comes, the village is a hype of excitement as Milly has agreed for her and Cameron to participate in their little play, much to his disgust - after all, he's not the most Popular man of the village since firing the villagers from their jobs at the castle - a play that results in them marrying!

Ah gah.... I'm getting carried away writing this... I could continue but I'd end up just telling the complete story!

There's a lot to this book from the discovery of the tunnels, magical hideaway coves and treasures to ghosts, sea creatures and the story of a family curse involving stone hearts and dragons... When Milly breaks the heart and Cameron finds a dragon tattoo down her back, each wonder if soul mates and real fairy tales do happen to every day people, but with each of them having their fair share of heartbreak and heart ache, they have a tough time with trust and listening to their hearts.

Fairytale Beginnings is literally Cinderella for grown ups! If you love all things pink, glittery and a Disney then I'm positive you will enjoy reading this. Holly Martin writes in great, descriptive detail that instantly too me from my sofa to the charms of Clover Castle. 

I adored Milly and Cameron's story... I wonder if I dyed the ends of my hair pink and wore converse I could discover a Castle..... ;-) 

I would like to Thank Holly and the team at Bookouture for sending me Fairytale Beginnings to read via NetGalley.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Life Or Something Like It by Annie Lyons

Step into someone else's shoes for the day....

And it will change you for a life time. Cat Nightingale is very good at her job. She runs a PR company with her best friend (and secret crush) Jesse, and is never happier than when her high profile celebrities are glittering  in the spotlight.

But after a footballer client hits the headlines for all the wrong reasons, Cat's career takes a sudden nosedive. So when her brother Andrew unexpectedly needs her to look after his kids for a few weeks, she can hardly say no. She's happily single, hasn't exactly been the "Worlds Bes Auntie" over the years, and what she knows about looking after children would fit on the back of a postage stamp!

But it's only temporary until she gets her real life back on track - isn't it?

*May contain spoilers*
I discovered this book whilst browsing NetGalley and something about it caught my eye. If you get the chance to read this you will not be disappointed!

Life or Something Like It tells a tale of how every day, real life situations can not only change your opinion on certain things but your complete world and everything you know along with it.

Cat Nightingale is running a very successful PR company for the most demanding and highest celebs in the business with her best friend and old Uni bud, Jesse. The catch is that since a "moment" at Uni, Cat has fallen for Jesse left right and centre, but he is married so her feelings are kept as a secret.

Cat is totally career driven and has convinced herself that she is happy single and living the high life attending star studded and champagne filled events. Children are way, way of her agender despite her having a niece and nephew and when it comes to Ellie's 6th birthday party Cat can't leave quick enough, especially when she meets "Super Manny" himself, Finn, Uncle to Ellie's best friend Daisy.

When her latest PR launch goes awfully wrong after an emergency resulting in her babysitting Ellie and Charlie meaning she wasn't at the event to supervise, her world is turned upside down leaving her suspend and at a loss.

With nothing to fill her days, Cat reluctantly offers to help out with her brothers childcare after her sister in law leaves the Country due to a family emergency - it can't be that hard surely?!
After losing Charlie on the first day Cat almost admits defeat but doesn't back down from a challenge easily... A challenge which involves seeing Finn fairly regularly especially when Andrew suggest they should holiday with the kids together.

Life Or Something Like It was light hearted and witty, I often found myself laughing out loud, particularly at the parts with 6 year old Ellie, having niece myself at that age, I could just picture Ellie's character saying what she says half the time.

Although the book was primarily fun and easy to read, there were a few sub storylines too. Cat is nursing her own heart break after bottling up the grief of losing her parents at such a young age and Charlie is a troublesome twelve or so year old with real anger issues. Those aside, Cat is still away from her job and the longer it takes for her to return, the more she had opened up to the real world and starts to wonder if the PR life is truly for her.

Of course as with every romantic fiction book there is a love story and in Cat's case she finds herself in a bit of love triangle with Finn and Jesse.... Who knew so much could happen during the school holidays eh?!! 

The book was well written and I really enjoyed getting to know the characters as they were likeable and realistic - especially the way Cat became with Ellie and Daisy.

I would like to thank Annie Lyons and both the teams at Harlequin UK and Carina UK for sending me Life Or Something Like It via NetGalley to preview. 

Monday, 13 July 2015

It's Now or Never by Jill Steeples

For Jen Faraday - not to be opened, in any circumstances until April 2016.

When smooth talking Alex Fellows tells Jen Faraday he can predict her future - and leaves a note with the bar tender for her to collect in one years time - she thinks it's just a line.
After all, how can a man she's known for only one night see what her future holds? Or maybe it's not too hard. Recently her life has been a series of things she hasn't done. She didn't go to college - family trouble. She didn't get married - dumped. And she hasn't handed her notice in at work yet - too scared! If she had to predict her future, would it be more of the same?

Or maybe not. After all, she's just had a passionate one night stand with a man who is rich and ridiculously good looking and totally not her type. That was unexpected. And she is going to resign from her job... Things are already changing. Whatever that prediction says - and how Jen wishes she knew - perhaps this year is the year she takes control of her destiny!

Firstly, I would like to start by thanking Jill for contacting me via Twitter and then sending me the NetGalley link for Its Now or Never. 

I actually have two other books by Jill on the iPad, but being a lover of real books compared to e-reading they have been pushed to the back of the pile -sorry Jill!
That said,I enjoyed Its now or Never so they could be bumped up shortly.

Jen Faraday is at a loss. Her best friend Angie is getting married, something she thought she would do first, her job, as much as she enjoys it, isn't fulfilling her potential and her love life is practically non existent.
That is until she meets Alex at Angies wedding, he's charming and handsome and Jen is quickly taken under his spell, but Angie has warned her off claiming he is a player. 

One thing Jen is trying to do is to live a little, so the excitement of him leads to a one night stand. Just before they get to the nitty gritty so to speak, Alex claims he can predict jeans future. Putting his view on paper he places it in an envelope and tells the bar staff to keep hold of it. He can only view it a year later.

Over the course of the book a year happens. Jill has written the book well and the story doesn't feel rushed in anyway, but we see Jen and Alex become a very "will they, won't they" couple.
Jen plucks up the courage to leave her job setting up her own business and there's abreast relationship between her and her Grandfather which comes across well too.

Jen and Alex meet several times over the course of the year, a few planned dates, a few by circumstances and chance when Jen does a temping job to boost her income and attends a christening -which just so happens to see them both become godparents earning that their paths are going to cross time and time again.

Whilst Jen does her best to focus on work and avoid this, Alex does his best at changing her mind. When he suddenly stops contacting her, she realises she feels more for him than she let on.

Fast forward to exactly a year and Jen comes face to face with that envelope and her so called future.... Did Alex get it right?
Well I won't spoil everything so you will have to grab a copy and find out for yourself.

Its Now or Never is a fun, light hearted, summery read... Perfect for a day in the sun.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Could It Be You? By Katie Kirby

Could It Be You is the debut novel from Katie Kirby, and I was approached by the lady herself to see if I would be interested in reviewing this for her.... Umm yes!!

Before I give my view on Could It Be You, I was also lucky enough to have a Q&A with Katie..

Katie, thank you for taking the time to chat, can you start by telling us a bit about yourself please?
Sure, I am originally from Dublin, Ireland, although I spent my younger years in the States. I trained as an actor in the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin and fortunately have worked a lot in theatre as well as film and television at home ever since graduating.

Have you always had a love of books? What's your earliest reading memory?
I have always been a huge lover of books and when I was younger, I remember voraciously reading The Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley High series. Judy Blumes novels have also really resonated with me.

Aha, I remember the SVH books myself! So how did you come about writing Could It Be You?
I've always written as it's something I could do in my spare time alongside the acting. I wrote a poetry book several years ago entitled Pink Moon, so when it came to this novel it was more about what I wanted to write about. I really wanted this novel to be fun and somewhat light, however Rachel's character is going through a real rocky patch so I wanted to stay true to that.

It's your debut novel, can you tell us where the inspiration for the book came from?
Looking back on the last ten years of my own life, I've had some extraordinary friendships so I was inspired to write about that.

Do you have a favourite chapter you particularly enjoyed writing?
I really enjoyed writing the party scenes as I had the opportunity to introduce really amusing supporting characters.

How are you similar, or not so, to the characters?
There are elements of Rachel that are similar to myself but she is altogether a lot more cynical than I am! I would say I'm somewhere between Rachel and Kara.

If you were locked for 24 hours in a room with one character, who would you pick and why?
Probably Nick because he would keep me laughing!

Do you have any guilty pleasures? What 3 things couldn't you live without?
I am a pretty healthy eater however my vice is salt and vinegar crisps! Three things I couldn't live without are my husband and two baby girls - they are my Everything!

Who are your top three authors?
Gabriel Garcia Marquez 
Sylvia Plath
Christopher Hitchins

Katie, thank you so much for allowing me to read and review Could It Be You and for taking the time to answer the questions, how can readers get hold of the book and stay in touch with you?

Could It Be You centres around Rachel Kane, a woman in her late twenties and an entrepreneur who owns her own soap and beauty range. She is desperately trying to navigate her way through life since the very sudden and heart wrenching split from her husband.

Join Rachel as her story takes us on her first holiday as a singleton to the south of France where she is maid of honour at her best friends wedding and a journey where Rachel has to face who and what is most important to her.

I found Could It Be You an easy, feel good read, in fact I finished it in one sitting.

Rachel is at a loss after her marriage has broken down, she back living with her parents and lives her life daily by floating from market to market trying to make ends meet with her homemade soap and beauty supplies. From the outset Rachel was a loveable character with a personality everyone would get on with.

Going away for the weekend for her best friends wedding, she quickly finds herself battling her emotions after divorce papers land on her doorstep, trying to keep upbeat is no easy task, so finding herself in a love triangle situations with Nick and Tom is the last thing she needs.

She manages to pull herself together to keep up her maid of honour duties, including keeping control on her friends and hunting out a wandering groom... It's safe to say, a lot can happen in one weekend!

I particularly liked that this novel was based over a short period of time, Wednesday to Sunday to be exact, and each chapter was titled with a time ( Saturday Morning - 10:35ish for example) giving a real timescale and the feeling of being away yourself in the build up to the wedding. The only exception to this is the final chapter being set a few months down the line.

There were both humorous and emotional parts to this story which is everything I look for in a book, and as far as debuts go this ticked all the books. 
I genuinely hope that this book does well for Katie and can't wait to see what she has in store next! 

The Truth About Ellen by Sarah Louise Smith

I was contacted by Sarah to see if I would like to review her new book, The Truth About Ellen and jumped at the chance to have this up on my blog. This review is brought to you by Guest Reviewer, Ellisa.

It's every girls dream to date a pop star...

When Ellen starts dating Tom, a member of the band she adored as a teenager, she can't believe how lucky she is. She neglects to mention that she's a huge fan because that just wouldn't be cool, would it?

Ellen also keeps quiet about how she once spent an evening with Tom's ex band mate / ex best friend Jasper, her long term celebrity crush. Tom doesn't need to know about that, it's all in the past.

That is until Tom and Jasper get back in touch... And the truth threatens to ruin everything Ellen has ever dreamed of...

As a teenager my celebrity crushes were Take That, 3T and Paul Nicholls, in my 20's it was McFly, well mainly Dougie. I used to have posters of all of them on my walls, folders and ceiling.

I used to imagine the day I would get to meet Paul Nichols, I would plan what I was going to say to him, and then he would fall in love with me. When I did finally get to meet him whilst I was working in a surf shop in London, I lost my power of speech when he spoke to me and actually giggled when he gave me his amazing grin, I've regretted that for along time!

Luckily for Ellen when she meets Tom who used to be in her favourite band Four ape, she's a lot better at handing meeting her teenage crush than I was!

This book is about what happens when you get to meet your teenage crush and realise that there only human and are actually real people. It's about falling in love, not just with the boy band member you grew up listening to but with the man he's become.

I love Ellen, I love her obsession with the band Four Ape, I love how accident prone she is (something I can relate to).

As soon as I started reading this I was transported into her world and couldn't put it down.
I'm now off to find out what else Sarah Louise Smith has written and read the rest of her books.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Pieces Of You by Ella Harper

Lucy I don't even know how to start this letter.
Something happened.
Something terrible....

Lucy was always sure of one thing - her cuter with husband and soul mate Luke. But after eight long, heartbreaking years of trying to have a baby, that future is crumbling before her eyes.

When a terrible accident puts Luke into a coma, Lucy is forced to reassess everything she thought she wanted.

Then a stranger arrives, with a shocking secret that will force Lucy to make the hardest decision of her life

*Contains Spoilers*

I purchased Pieces Of You recently and will confess that the front cover intrigued me. I didn't read the blurb at the time of purchase, and truthfully, if I had I probably wouldn't have brought it... I'll explain as my review goes on.

The book is fundamentally about one main character, Lucy, and a fair chunk of the chapters are written as her in the first person.
Lucy is married to Luke, the love of her life. They are completely compatible and completely besotted with each other.

Only one thing is missing. A baby to complete their family. The chapters that Lucy tells are primarily in the present and titled with her name, whilst one or two refers back to how her and Luke met, the first time they discovered she was expecting, their wedding day etc. and are titles Lucy and Luke.
I instantly took a liking to Lucy's character and I have to hand it to Ella Harper as she wrote about a sensitive subject with care and thought yet keeping it real. Having suffered miscarriages and yearning that feeling of having a baby myself, I could totally relate to Lucy and her emotions - that didn't mean that this book, for me, was an easy read and I did have to put it down and take a breather occasional.

Lucy's world is suddenly turned upside down when Luke has an accident at work which leaves him fighting for life and in a coma. With her emotions all over the place the last thing she needed was a stranger dropping a bombshell - your have to read it to discover what as I'd like to leave some element of surprise, however Lucy starts to question everything she thought she had with Luke.

Along with the Lucy & Lucy and Luke chapters, there are two other characters that tell this story. Patricia, Luke's mother, and Nell, his sister, both of who depended largely on Luke during the last few years. I particularly liked the way the chapters focussing on these two characters are in the third person, it kept you on your toes whilst reading yet flowed really well.

One thing that is clear from the start of the book is that other than Lucy and Luke, there are a lot of broken relationships between the four main characters, and as the story unfolds we get to know each of the characters well and how they deal with problems as they arise - real family issues that are relatable and believable and what's lovely about Pieces Of You is that over the course of the book we get to see this broken family build their bridges.

I'm glad I didn't read the blurb for this book as it was, despite being hard going for me personally, a truely compelling, heart warming, and heart breaking, novel that had everything from laughs to tears.... If your a fan of JoJo Moyes' Me Before You or Giovanna Fletcher Billy & Me then this is a must for you!