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Does My Bump Look Big In This? by Amy Lynch

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Length: 329 pages

Note: The cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link  for the book

What they say: the MOTHER of all comedies is due…
Newlyweds Barry and Becky are just back from their tropical honeymoon. The tans are gorgeous, and it was five star luxury all the way. But there’s a problem. Barry’s desperate for a baby, and Becky’s not quite so keen.
Surrounded by pregnant friends and a mother who’s talking about the ticking of invisible biological clocks, Becky starts to feel the pressure. When a surprise pregnancy rocks the boat, Becky’s friends and family are rooting for her all the way. Will she navigate the choppy waters to motherhood? Will she survive antenatal classes? Can she avoid stretchmarks, indigestion and her dreaded boss? And most importantly of all… does her bump look big in this?

The Review: You’ll remember I raved about Bride Without A Groom (read review here), hoping that there was a sequel coming out. How happy was I when I saw that this book was available for pre-order?! Of course then I did what I’ve done to much of and am fixing this year and put it aside and got bogged down with other stuff but I’m happy to say this book was paramount in getting me out of a really bad reading slump.

As you know I adore chick lit and this, that of the ‘Legally Blond’ and ‘Clueless’ variety, is rarely done as well as it is by Amy Lynch. I have seen it likened to the Shopaholic Series by Sophie Kinsella, and it needs to be, because these books are every bit as satisfying, fun and enjoyable as Ms. Kinsella’s (excellent) ones. Again we’re following Becky as she clip clops through life, having opinions on anything and everyone, as well as deciding exactly how everything needs to happen. I loved how you rea

There is a plethora of over the top, inappropriate jokes (I regularly laughed, trying to stop myself as I did) on getting ready to have a baby that are brave and oh-so satisfying, but never crude and again I felt like this book was tailor made with references or mentions of ‘Friends,’ ‘Big Brother,’ ‘Ghost, ‘The Snapper, ‘ ‘Mount Carmel hospital (where I was born!) and ‘Orange Is The New Black.’ Oh and Patrick Swayze, but I’ll lower my head for that particular reference!  This seems like a short review but I think I’ve made my point, you’ll know.

My finishing point is that they say that the sign of a good book is that you want to press it into the hands of others and actually I have a number of people who will adore this. This could be read as a standalone but really, if you know you’ll like it, why would you?! As I did. Cannot wait for Amy Lynch’s next book and I’m pretty sure I’m in for the long haul.

Rating: 5/5

Christmas Under A Starlit Sky by Holly Martin (Book 2 of the ‘A Town Called Christmas’ Series)

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What they say: Step inside a beautiful winter wonderland where love, laughter and cosy nights by the fire will make this Christmas one to remember.

Neve Whitaker loves managing the Stardust Lake hotel. She gets to work alongside her wonderful family and she’s spending Christmas on the most enchanting, snow-covered island in Scotland. So why is her heart so heavy this festive season?

It might have something to do with the gorgeous actor Oakley Rey, the man she finished with before he left for California and the man she loves more than anything. With Oakley’s career in Hollywood soaring, Neve is convinced she’d only hold him back. She had to end it with him – at least that’s what she keeps telling herself.

But now she has a secret she’s struggling to keep, and when Oakley arrives on Juniper Island determined to win her back, Neve is thrown off balance. Will Neve’s fear of having her heart broken again push Oakley away for good, or is it time for her to take a leap of faith?

Get swept away by this deliciously sweet and heartwarming tale, and spend an unforgettable Christmas on Juniper Island.

 

The review: I had heard so much about the first book of this series, Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky, that when I saw this on Netgalley I was absolutely thrilled. I had read ‘Tied Up with Love‘ (by Holly Martin writing as Amelia Thorne) before I started blogging, and knew Ms. Martin’s romance and comedy to be exemplary, and her pacing excellent and again they didn’t disappoint.

There were four main characters in this book- and we meet them at the Stardust Lake Hotel where Neve is manager and Adam is on contract. I say four main characters but actually, there were a lot of minor characters here too, and I think that reading the first in this series would have been better to start with. Neve and Oakley have history and are trying to figure out whether they are willing to make it work (he is a famous actor whose life is in America, she is on Juniper Island in Scotland). It says in the blurb that Neve has a secret to keep and yes, it is a big one, with many missed chances for the revelation coming and going. This will annoy quite a few people, as there were roadblocks a plenty, and yes, some of them I predicted, in a ‘if such and such happened now it would be crazy,’ and then it would happen and yet, this book still hit the mark for me. I’m afraid the only issue I had was that I found some of the story to be a little confusing, in particular I didn’t have a feel for who the characters were in terms of their age and appearance and had to skip back in places to figure out what was going on, this could have been an editing issue or it could have just been me, I’m not sure to be honest.

There was another ‘will they, won’t they’ which was filled with lovely moments that were really sweet and had me nodding along. As I said above, Ms.Martin’s romance is perfection as was the chemistry in the book and the (cough) sex. What with that and the constant drama that had me read this in two evenings, it was a book I thoroughly enjoyed. Thanks to Netgalley for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

Novella Review: The Snowflake Valley Advice Fairy by Holly Tierney-Bedord

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Length: 95 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: The author of Right Under Your Nose: A Christmas Story brings you another sweet, festive holiday novella.

At just twenty-five years old, Elinor has landed the job of her dreams: She’s going to be Merry the Advice Fairy for the Snowflake Valley Gazette. She’s ecstatic that she’s about to embark on a fun, cushy career while living in the cutest, quaintest town she’s ever known.

She’s barely settled into her desk at work when that famous Snowflake Valley shimmer starts to fizzle. The real Snowflake Valley bears little resemblance to the picture postcard tourist destination she and her family loved when she was a child. Her new co-workers are uninspiring, to say the least, and the problems that people are submitting to the Gazette are much weightier than what she was expecting.

Losing faith in herself, Elinor considers cutting her losses and moving on. However, the attention of hot young reporter Nile might be enough to get her past her chilly start in Snowflake Valley, and back to seeing its charm once again.

 
The Review: It’s funny that the last line of the blurb uses the word ‘charm,’ because no word is more apt for this gorgeous little novella. From the very beginning, where we meet Elinor as she introduced to her new surroundings at the Snowflake Valley Gazette, I could tell this was going to be special. Elinor has some very romanticized visions of Snowflake Valley brought about by her childhood memories of apple picking at Harvest Fest and caroling there at Christmas time, however she soon realizes that there’s a harsh reality out there, and her job is to deal with it, by turning agony aunt and answering the problems people send into the newspaper. I loved the letters, with problems that ranged from heartbreaking to properly hilarious, with one making me say ‘yes!’ as I laughed out loud.

The characters in this book were excellent, the romance lovely, the story brilliantly spun and actually, this is one that I’ll possibly read again. An extremely satisfying read and an author I will most definitely be back to for more and more (by the way I’ve reviewed Boots On The Ground by Ms. Tierney-Bedord here  , Weekend Immune System here and there’s an author interview here).

Thanks to the author for this book in return for an honest review .

Rating: 5/5

About the author

hollytierneybedford

Website

Blog

Twitter:  ( @hollytierney)

Facebook

Holly’s Amazon Page

Upstairs, Downstairs … and the Lift in Between: A Novella (Drakenfall Book 1)

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Amazon UK

Amazon US

What they say: This is a complete stand alone 15K story with its own happy ending in the Drakenfall Series.

 Computer genius Maisy Potter crosses an ocean to take her dream holiday at the English country estate-turned-resort, Drakenfall … where the winsome Mark Prebys works below stairs. With him, Maisy discovers a carefree happiness she’s never known. But will the troubles dogging her from back home, a secret whispered behind parlour curtains, and misunderstandings to beat the band extinguish the magic they think they’ve found in each other? And if not, what happens when Maisy’s enchanting holiday ends?
The Review: I read this as part of the Love In An Elevator short story anthology (it has since been released as a standalone), and was taken straight away. It is told more in the manner of a Jane Austen classic, which to start with took me a little bit to get into, as it’s like a different language to me (to my shame I haven’t read many classics since my teenage years), then by the end of it I was taking down the book it’s preceding’s name to read. I adored the characters, smiled at the romance, and there were many hidden humor gems that made me nod along in appreciation. Even if I didn’t know of Geralyn Corcillo as one of the most inspirational, fun, supportive, hardworking people on social media, I would be all over this as it’s something that little bit different, so spellbinding and gorgeous that it’s perfect for this time of year. I would say this is one series I most definitely not be missing. Stay tuned for the review of A Drakenfall Christmas which is part 2 of this series as part of its blog tour.
Rating: 5/5

A Home in Sunset Bay by Rebecca Pugh

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Please note: The Cover Image leads to a universal Amazon Link for the book

What they say: There’s no place like home…

Enough is enough! The always perfect Laurie Chapman had jumped in her car and raced as fast as she could from London heading to Sunset Bay and (she hopes!) the open arms of her estranged sister…

Mia Chapman loves running Dolly’s Diner in the picture-perfect coastal Cornish town of Sunset Bay. Now that her and Grandma Dolly’s dream is finally a reality Mia has never been prouder! Until Laurie suddenly turns up on her doorstep… How can she forgive the sister who walked away?

Once upon a time Mia and Laurie were best friends. Back together after so long, the time has come for the sisters to figure out what went so wrong all those years ago – and whether they can ever put it right!

An uplifting romantic comedy about sisters, friendship and the love of good food.

The Review: You’ll remember last year I reviewed Return to Bluebell Hill by Rebecca Pugh. I spoke of how she was one of my favourite bloggers (see her blog here )  and someone who was amazingly helpful when I started on the books scene, both as an author and blogger. It was a relief that someone so nice could put out such beautiful, descriptive writing (horrible when you have to give a bad review to someone you think is so amazing) and I have to say firstly not much has changed, with Ms Pugh’s blog still being one of my first to go to. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, more relief came with A Home In Sunset Bay. This was a beautiful, beautiful book. The descriptions of scenery, locations and people popped, inspiring both the blogger and the writer in me:

“Mia could see a smattering of white blobs, sailboats she realised, which looked as if an artist had smudged them into the distance with her fingertip.”

And so it was back to the wonderful homeliness that Ms Pugh previously delivered in Return to Bluebell Hill with the vivid descriptions that made you feel like you were gazing at a painting instead of reading a book. We meet Mia Chapman and are introduced to Sunset Bay, a picturesque seaside town, where Mia runs Dolly’s Diner, passed down to her by her beloved Grandma Dolly. The establishment is a lively, vibrant diner that jumped out of the pages of the book and contrasted nicely with the next premises we met, the fantastic Honeysuckle cottage (I am a sucker for cottages that as gorgeous as this!). I also have to mention the snippets of Grandma Dolly’s life and love that were given to us, which were so touching.

I liked Mia straight away, paying close attention to the fact that she perhaps was not as satisfied with her life as she made out. Another person not in the ‘satisfied,’ camp, by a long shot, was Laurie, who had decided it was time to get out of London. The chain of events that lead to her escape was excellently done, and I loved her arrival at Sunset Bay, but I’m afraid I hit two glitches here. Firstly the mystery surrounding their ‘feud,’ when resolved, was disappointing, I suspect I wanted more of a bang in the reason as to why they were fighting. The other was that the ‘baddie’ of the book was overdone, and in the same way I started to find the way we were constantly told how amazing Mia was a little bit jarring. That being said I flew through the book so quickly, reading over two nights and not wanting to put it down. The romance was gorgeous, the pacing and the time span the book took place over perfect, and I really enjoyed it all, including the ending, which was a nice surprise. Told in third person, from the viewpoint of both main characters, it was an easygoing read which I really enjoyed and have to admit, I’ll be heading back to read more of Ms Pugh’s work in Down On Daffodil Lane .

Rating: 4/5

Blog Tour: Review: Gamer Girl by Glynis Astie

 

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Gamer Girl By author: Glynis Astie

Release Date: May 31, 2016

Genre:

Romantic Comedy

Length: 330 pages

Buy the Book: Note: for the week of the blog tour is only £0.99!!!

Amazon US

Amazon UK

What they day: Struck by tragedy at an early age, Meri Palmer escaped into the only world she understood. Within the virtual realm of online gaming, she lived a life filled with mythical creatures and thrilling adventures, where she was strong, powerful, clever, and beautiful—everything she believed she wasn’t in real life. As the years went by, her desire to cling to her cherished fantasyland only grew stronger. But when Meri meets Morgan, equal parts gorgeous and goofball, she begins to wonder if the time has finally come to rejoin the so-called real world. Channeling the bravery of her fairy warrior alter ego, Meri slowly lets Morgan beyond the protective walls she’s built around her heart. Just as she finds a comfortable groove in an uncertain world, Morgan succumbs to insecurities of his own, leaving her lost and confused. Through her battle to regain her equilibrium, Meri will discover that even in reality, things aren’t always what they seem. Will Meri win the battle raging in her heart and summon the will to rescue her knight in shining armor? Or will she give in to the fear and find her game over?

The Review: I’m so thrilled to be part of this blog tour-that of ‘Gamer Girl’ by Glynis Astie!

I have to admit when I heard of this book I was very excited. First off there was Ms. Astie herself, who I had encountered on social media and is so lovely, but also I love to hear of concepts that are chick lit but with a twist on them, and this sounded right up might street! Add to this the cover (how gorgeous is it, honestly!) and I jumped to review. I’ll point out straight away that while I used to pay video games, and now have sons who play video games, I’m not a gamer, and I still did really enjoy. I think it would suit all people who are chick lit fans and look for something a bit edgier although I think it will be bang on for people who do game.

But I digress. The book opens with a fantasy world where the person in the game is meeting a key character for the first time. It is a fantasy game, and we get a slight taste of what has been going on with this character to date, the people they trust, and those they don’t. An attack ensues. The descriptions in these game sequences were vivid and extremely engaging, it was like you had stepped straight into this world. Exiting it, you meet twenty four year old Meri Palmer, who is fully immersed in said game:

‘I wrenched off my headset and hurled it to the floor.’

Meri, who works in ‘the hottest new gaming company in Manhattan,’ Ludicrux Games, lives with her Grams, and we soon learn that her life hasn’t been easy (special mention here to the flashbacks of her past, that were so beautiful and touching). Despite this, she is a vibrant positive character, albeit one who is finding it hard to trust people, who has ideas of what she wants for her future. In this quirky, out there work environment that was always interesting, we are introduced to her best friend Declan, and her crush, Morgan. The characters in this were perfection, the chemistry between Declan and she brilliant, and there were so many touching moments between the two

” ‘We’re the most ridiculous pair, Meri’

‘We are indeed.’ I kissed the top of his head. ‘And I wouldn’t change a thing.'”

There was also the growth of Meri in the book, which was masterful. The romance in this book was also so lovely, and I smiled as it happened (no spoilers). There were secrets galore and the pacing meant that you began to think of them at the right time to keep you want to reading. It wasn’t a ‘BAM!’ something’s happened, kind of book, except in the fantasy pages, which, you realised quite soon, were mirroring real life, but more that you’d be lead into an idea that someone was not as they seemed and I liked this style. I’m afraid there were small parts of the book, both in the fantasy and out, that perhaps went over my head, and so I had to re-read parts, but it didn’t really impact the flow of the book that much.

The final word has to be on the comedy of the book, which was mostly very much up my street, and the references, which again, were me (also for reminding me that I have to have to read ‘Ready Player One!’). Gamer Girl was a lovely, touching  book with lashings of comedy that were so perfect it was like they were tailor made, and I will most definitely be reading more by Ms Astie in the future. Oh and did I mention it’s only £0.99 on Amazon at the moment?! Thanks so much to HCL author services for the book in return for an honest review and make sure you follow the blog tour, the details of which are below!

Rating: 4/5

About the author

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Glynis never expected in her wildest dreams to be a writer. After thirteen years in the Human Resources Industry, she decided to stay at home with her two amazing sons. Ever in search of a project, she was inspired to write the story of how, in only six short months, she met and married her wonderfully romantic French husband, Sebastien. The end result became her first novel, French Twist. As this was just the beginning of their epic love story, Glynis continued to chronicle their adventures in the sequel, French Toast, and the final installment in the series, French Fry. After she finished milking her life story for all it was worth, she decided to write straight-up fiction with Gamer Girl, which infuses her beloved chick lit with a hint of fantasy. When Glynis is not writing, she is trying to keep the peace amongst the three men and two cats in her life, finding missing body parts (Lego pieces are small!), supervising a myriad of homework assignments and keeping a tenuous hold on her sanity by consuming whatever chocolate is in the vicinity.

Find her here: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon

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The Gamer Girl Blog Tour

October 9th

BRMaycock’s Book Blog – Book Review

October 10th

Judging More Than Just The Cover – Author Q&A
Sweet Little Pretties – Book Excerpt 1/Promo
Sylv All About Books and Films – Book Excerpt

October 11th

Novelgossip – Author Guest Post
ItaPixie’s Book Corner – Book Excerpt 2/Promo Post
Book Lover in Florida – Book Review/Excerpt 3

October 12th

Romantic Reads – A Guest Post
Steamy Book Momma – Book Promo
Authors & Readers Book Corner – Book Promo

October 13th

He Said Books or Me – Book Review
Hello…Chick Lit – Book Review/Guest Post

October 14th

Grass Monster – Book Review
Rae Reads – Book Review

October 15th

The Fiction Addiction – Book Review
These Words: A Blog – Book Excerpt 1

Book Tour Arranged By: HCL Author Services

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A Summer Romance (The Little Perran Romances Book 3) by Lynda Renham

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Note: As always, the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

Length: 150 pages

What they say: A Summer Romance is the sequel to A Village Romance and is the third book in the Little Perran series by Lynda Renham writing as Amy Perfect.

Milly settles into her new job but does her boss, Ashley Wilmot-Fox, have secrets that he is hiding in Briar Lodge? Will he be able to help Milly fight the ghosts from her past? Will Billy’s blundering romance last, and will Rafe’s secret affair be exposed? As the villagers prepare for their summer fete they have no idea what will be revealed on that day.

 The Review: Some time ago I reviewed A Village Romance by Lynda Renham (see review here), part of The Little Perran Series. I actually read the next installment, this one, A Summer Romance, straight away, but things got in the way and so I never got to review. Now, while it wasn’t quite for me, I did enjoy. It begins with a nice little run down on what had happened the last time we encountered the people of Little Perran. I thought this was a nice touch- I always enjoy a nice lead in, to get you back into the spirit of the book, even though I’d just read A Village Romance. We were back to Milly, working away at her pottery, and reminded that there were secrets, and I looked forward to all being revealed.

I have to admit, the place we went to next reminded me that I hadn’t been a fan of a lot of the characters in A Village Romance, with a lot of backward notions on women being ‘made’ to do things that made me roll my eyes.

There was a lot of swoony type romance, and more canoodling, which will definitely appeal to many, however we were also hit with some slang and cursing that took away from the whole homely aspect at times. That being said there was some lovely scenes with the preparations underway for the village fete, and I liked some of the comedy we encountered. There were also characters I did enjoy and the book flew by in a dash.

I’ll be honest, while I think this book will go down very well with romance lovers, it wasn’t necessarily my cup of tea, but I did find it enjoyable. Thanks to the author for the book in return for an honest review.

Check out my previous interview with Lynda Renham and some reviews, including ‘Rory’s Proposal’ a romantic comedy I really warmed to, and  Perfect Weddings which I also enjoyed!

Rating 3.5/5

The Author

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Facebook

Twitter @lyndarenham

Website