Friday 27 June 2014

Guest Post ~ Holly Martin.

Today I'm taking part in the blog tour for Holly Martin's One Hundred Proposals and I have a fab guest post from Holly to share. Don't forget to check out the book at the end of this post too!

In One Hundred Proposals, Harry takes Suzie around the world, proposing in the most beautiful, exotic locations. Unfortunately my budget did not stretch to a round the world tour for research purposes and although some of the places in the book I have been to, there were others that involved a lot of research.

Two of my favourite locations were The Galapagos Islands and Canada, neither of which I’ve been to.

The Galapagos Islands has been on my wish list for more years than I can count. I’m not sure why I want to go there more than anywhere else in the world, but the beauty of the place is incredible, the beaches, forests, the abundance of rare and beautiful wildlife. I’m a big fan of scuba diving and the multitude of sea life that lives in the oceans and seas around the Galapagos Islands is a must for all avid divers and snorkelers. Harry and Suzie are only in The Galapagos islands for one day and two nights and it’s a shame they couldn’t stay longer to really experience the beauty of the islands but with a whole world to explore and only 90 days to do it in, I had to move them on.

One of the places that Harry and Suzie stay the longest is Canada. That is another of my must see places and I’m hoping I can go there this summer. Canada just amazes me, with its forests and towering mountains but also with its barren wilderness, busy cities and great sky scrapers. They start off their Canadian journey in Quebec which hadn’t even registered for me until I read the brilliant Winter Wonder by Belinda Jones and now I can’t wait to go. In the winter, Quebec is a brilliant place to visit, especially with the ice hotel and the dog sledding, that will be one of the things I’ll be sad to miss if I go this summer. They travel to Toronto to see the powerful, awe inspiring Niagara Falls and then on a train through the depths of the Rockies, they paddle on canoes across the turquoise Lake Louise and catch a sea plane to Prince Rupert to see the bears. I spent hours researching Canada and the places that Harry and Suzie could visit and I’ve really fallen in love with the place.

There are lots of other places that Harry takes Suzie on his search for the ultimate proposal, they go to Mexico, Disneyland in California, Las Vegas, San Francisco, New York, Hong Kong, Dubai, the Himalayas, a Kenyan Safari and Australia and it’s been a pleasure to research all these beautiful places. Now I just need to find the money to visit them all.


‘Is there really such a thing as a perfect proposal?

Over the next hundred days I intend to find out. I will find one hundred ways to propose to our Chief Proposer Suzie McKenzie and post the results here for your enjoyment. One thing’s for sure, not one of my proposals will be on top of the Eiffel Tower with a dozen red roses.’

Best friends Suzie and Harry are partners in romance. That is, they run, coming to the aid of would-be grooms to create the ultimate marriage proposal.

But when Harry decides to catapult the business into the big leagues with a PR stunt all Suzie can see is a hundred days of heartbreak stretching ahead of her. But however exotic the location, or breath-takingly romantic the setting, Suzie has to keep remembering that ‘Marry Me?’ is the one question she can’t say yes to.

This business proposal should come with one hundred broken heart warnings...

One hundred proposals, one hundred chances to say yes.

Amazon UK

Thursday 26 June 2014

Review ~ Understudy by Cheyanne Young.

Title: Understudy.
Author: Cheyanne Young.
Publisher: 336Love.
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult Romance.
Publication Date: February 14, 2014.
Source: Review copy.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Purchase: Amazon UK | Amazon | B&N

The high school play is in two months and senior Wren Barlow just became director. Wren still isn't over the fact that she got stiffed as a stagehand instead of the lead role that she totally deserved. Now she is in charge of rehearsals, costumes, navigating around cast member hookups and managing the real life drama at home.

The principal counts on her to succeed because tickets have been sold and the money has been spent. But when he drops a gorgeous bad boy on her and wants him to help the play for extra credit, she falls hard for someone she knows she can't date. With everything spinning out of control, the mysterious and secretive detention king named Derek has a few tricks up his sleeve and wants to help—too bad Wren is scared to give him a chance to prove himself.

Margot and I have an unspoken best friend code when it comes to dating hot guys: She who sees him first, gets to date him first. The good news is that Margot hasn’t mentioned any new guys at school lately, so that means I’ve seen him first. The bad news is that she is way prettier than I am. Actually, that’s just the neutral news. The bad news is that Margot is currently single.

At lunch, Margot picks on her garden salad while I think of an organic way to bring up Derek and stake my claim on him. All the seniors have the same lunch period but it isn’t hard finding him in the crowd. Because he’s sitting alone in one of the corner tables made for two people. His sexy level goes up by a million points when I see that he’s reading a book instead of a magazine with a half-naked babe on the cover.

“That must be a new guy,” I say casually, poking my fork in Derek’s direction. “He’s cute.” Mission complete. With those two words, I have unofficial dibs on him.

Understudy is a fun Young Adult novel with some fab characters and a sweet romance. Instantly, I look at the cover and love it for its simplistic, cute nature and that pretty much describes what I felt about this book – an endearing, feel-good story impossible not to like.

The main character, Wren, hoping to make her college resume stand out, auditions for the school play. Given her aunt does the casting, she’s convinced she’s bagged the main role but regardless, she’s soon distracted by the mysterious Derek. I really wasn’t expecting Derek to be the bad-boy he was made out to be and the way his character played out was sweet. I don’t think this was the most unpredictable romance novel but I really didn’t care because it just made me smile.

I liked how the characters we were meant to like weren’t forced, perfect people. They all had flaws and that makes them easy to relate to, which I find one of the most important things about Young Adult books because at that age, we all need to know it’s okay not to be perfect, right? Other than Wren and Derek, who I loved, I really warmed to Wren’s best friend Margot because she wasn’t “perfect”. At the beginning, she came across as judgmental and a little pushy but that’s what I liked about her.

What I enjoyed about this book the most was that Wren didn’t conform to be like the rest of her classmates. I’m sure everyone at that high-school stage at times just wished they could fit in but Wren was naturally different, not the typical teenage girl and it worked for her. She shows it’s okay to be who you are and I think I really rooted for her for that reason. Understudy was an uplifting story not without a twist and definitely deserving of putting a smile on your face this summer.

Cheyanne is a native Texan with a fear of cold weather and a coffee addiction that probably needs an intervention. She loves books, sarcasm, nail polish and paid holidays. She lives near the beach with her family, one spoiled rotten puppy and a cat who is most likely plotting to take over the world.

She also writes under the pen name Amy Sparling.

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Cover Reveal ~ What Happens to Men When They Move to Manhattan? by Jill Knapp.

I'm so excited to be sharing the cover for Jill Knapp's novel, What Happens to Men When They Move to Manhattan?, not least because I absolutely love it! It's an absolutely gorgeous cover.

Title: What Happens to Men When They Move to Manhattan?.
Author: Jill Knapp.
Publisher: HarperImpulse.
Release Date: July 24, 2014.

When you live in the fastest moving city on earth, how do you decide-
What is worth the chase?

Life in the city gives 23 year old Amalia Hastings a ride she is not expecting... As she tries to find her way on the little island that never sleeps, she discovers she has a harder time navigating through life then she does the streets of Greenwich Village!

Amalia thought she had everything she wanted – a new apartment in Manhattan, a first-rate education at NYU, a group of fabulous friends and Nicholas, a boyfriend who she once believed was her soul-mate. But somehow, it isn’t enough.

Stumbling through her relationships, Amalia encounters Michael. An attractive classmate who quickly moves from being one of her close friends, to an inconsistent friend-with-benefits. After all, the only thing consistent about New York is its beauty.

Amalia is essentially torn between two men, and Michael is torn between two women. Her best friend Cassandra is being strung along by her "boyfriend", Bryce, and even her friend Olivia is having a secret relationship!

After getting hopelessly lost searching for love in all the wrong places, Amalia finds herself asking – what happens to men when they move to Manhattan?!

A native New Yorker, Jill Knapp is the author of the New Adult series What Happens To Men When They Move To Manhattan?. A former adjunct professor of Psychology at her Alma Mater Kean University, she received a Master’s degree in Psychology from the New School for Social Research in Manhattan. A regular contributor to the Huffington Post and The High Tea Cast, Knapp writes about entertainment, dating, and the differences between city and suburban lifestyles.

Wednesday 25 June 2014

Review & Author Interview ~ The Life You Left by Carmel Harrington.

Title: The Life You Left.
Author: Carmel Harrington.
Publisher: HarperImpulse.
Ebook Release Date: June 19, 2014.
Paperback Release Date: July 3, 2014.
Source: Review copy.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Purchase: Amazon UK

“Sarah, I’m not coming home tonight.
If you love me, you will give me the space I need…
Tell the children I love them.
- Paul”

It started out like any other day for Sarah Lawler; getting the kids ready for school, making the packed lunches and juggling baby Ella’s feeds. There was no way of knowing that her husband, Paul, would leave for work that morning and simply not come home.

Now the questions are piling up quicker than the unpaid bills and, unable to answer her children’s questions about where their Daddy is, Sarah is getting desperate. But it turns out she isn’t quite as alone as she thought she was. When her beloved childhood friend, Edward, comes back into her life, Sarah thinks she’s finally been thrown a life line.

There’s just one problem with Edward: no one else can see him.

Edward is an angel. And he has a message for Sarah that will change her life and the lives of others forever. For it is only in the most difficult of times that Sarah can discover how strong she truly is.

Anyone who even remotely knows me is aware of how overly-excited I’ve been for The Life You Left and Carmel Harrington yet again blew me away with this fabulous book.

Right away this book captured my attention as we hear about a mysterious email sent to Sarah from her husband Paul, saying he wasn’t coming home that night. In what could have been an intriguing story on its own, The Life You Left had much more of an edge to it than that with the fascinating addition of Sarah’s guardian angel Edward. I loved this concept and the way it affected Sarah’s everyday life and I was always interested in Edward’s role as Sarah tried to rebuild her life and support her family.

I also loved Carmel’s wonderful character development. Not only does she bring us a fab main character in Sarah, one who was really easy to like and empathise with, there’s a brilliant cast of supporting characters. Sarah’s brother James was my favourite supporting character – I loved his relationship with Sarah and how supportive he was of her. Carmel always writes side characters which you know would be capable of having a brilliant book themselves and I felt like that about Ruby and James amongst others.

After a great start to this book, I loved how it just kept getting better. The Life You Left had everything – from family, love, protectiveness to more harder-hitting and sensitive issues. I really connected with Sarah in this novel and her wonderful, strong personality makes her probably my favourite leading character in any book I can remember reading. Her care for her family and even for people she doesn’t know all that much, plus the way she always picked herself back up and fought for the people she loved made her a really fantastic, inspirational character.

I have been waiting very impatiently for The Life You Left and it definitely did not disappoint! Carmel packed plenty into this simply stunning novel and wrote it to perfection.

Review also posted on Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon

Tell us about your second novel, The Life You Left.

The Life You Left centres around Sarah Lawler and her twin brother James. Sarah’s life is thrown into turmoil by two events. Her husband Paul disappears and an old childhood friend, Edward reappears. Edward is unlike most friends though, as he is an angel and only Sarah can see him. He comes with a message to Sarah that will change her life forevermore.

The Life You Left has a very different concept to Beyond Grace’s Rainbow – were you nervous about how readers would react to that given how popular Beyond Grace’s Rainbow has been?

Sophie, I really was nervous. It is a different story, it’s darker with a bigger mystery/suspense element in it too, but its written in the same style, with lots of emotion, laughter and tears throughout. I don’t think I breathed for about a week when the first ARC’s went out to book reviewers like yourself!

The Life You Left is blessed with great characters – who was your personal favourite?

I think I have two! James, because he was a dream to write. A gorgeous, cheeky man, loved it. In particular there is a scene in a gym that still makes me chuckle as I imagine it! I also loved Michelle’s character. She is such a horrible person, it was fun to try to get inside her head and work out what makes her tick!

Are the characters inspired from people you know?

Not in the least, but I can tell you that my brother John and I, have the kind of relationship that Sarah and James have.

What, if anything, are you hoping readers can take from The Life You Left?

Well, I hope that it gives the reader hope that no matter how tough life can get, when you dig deep within yourself, its amazing the strength you really possess. If it leaves them thinking about the characters long after they turn the last page, I’m so happy.

Are you doing anything to celebrate the publication?

Sophie, I’m so lucky, because the paperback launch happens in a Castle! Imagine that, a real castle and me! Focal - Wexford Literary Festival are hosting my launch for me and we will have wine, cheese, canap├ęs and strawberries and cream! I can’t wait.

If The Life You Left was being made into a film, who would you want cast as the main characters?

Sophie, this is hard!! Theres an Irish actress called Amy Huberman who would be a great Sarah. Maybe Michael Fassbender as Edward and James, Gerald Butler!

What has been the biggest highlight for you about publishing your second novel?

I’ve had so many, it’s hard to chose, but I think seeing the early reviews come in, with such a positive reaction for TLYL, was pretty exciting. I love to write so much, it’s a gift to get such a response back from readers, it really is!

What’s next for you now?

In between book signings and promo for the book release, I am speaking at a Literary Festival in Wexford and also need to finish my third book, a sequel to Beyond Grace’s Rainbow.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog Sophie!

Carmel x

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Top Ten Books Read in 2014 (so far!)

I love chatting to people about their favourite books but I never have an answer when people ask me what mine is... How can I be so cruel and choose?? But since I've been so lucky to read loads of amazing books this year so far, I thought I'd try and figure out and post the top ten books I've read this year so far :)

Not all of them came out this year and they're not in any order - it did take me about a week to narrow this list down to ten so the year would probably be out before I could rank them...

The Judas Scar by Amanda Jennings.

My Review

I'd heard countless wonderful things about The Judas Scar before I started reading it but I still wasn't expecting it to be as bloody brilliant as it was. Very twisted and yet sensitive and emotional at the same time, it's the most gripping book I've read this year and my introduction to an incredible author I can't wait to read more from.

FAN by Danny Rhodes.

My Review

I think I've recommended/gifted FAN to everybody I've spoke to this year. Drawing on and inspired by the effect the Hillsborough disaster took on someone, FAN is a million times more than just another good sport-themed book. It's harrowing and emotional and even though at times it might be tough to read, fantastic writing makes this so worthwhile and a book that will stay with me forever.

The Life You Left by Carmel Harrington.

My Review

You all knew Carmel was going to have a book in here... The Life You Left was my most anticipated book of the year and was completely stunning. I absolutely loved Sarah and James and Carmel has a wonderful way with words which makes a unique plot easy to relate to. It's an emotional story packed with positive, uplifting messages. Carmel's writing is flawless to me.

The Edge of Sanity by Sheryl Browne.

My Review

I loved the sound of The Edge of Sanity and it didn't disappoint. It was very dramatic and heart-wrenching throughout - intense but a brilliant read. What I loved even more was that although this is the first thriller Sheryl has written, it just felt like she'd been writing these kind of novels her whole life. I've read lots of suspense and thrillers since but not many have come close to The Edge of Sanity.

The Vineyard by Karen Aldous.

My Review

The Vineyard is such a beautiful, moving story. It's Karen's debut novel and has left me so looking forward to more from her. It's impossible to not read this novel without appreciating and valuing your loved ones more and it was a different story to what I had been expecting but still a completely gorgeous summery read.

How to Get a (Love) Life by Rosie Blake.

My Review

I am an absolute nightmare at crying at books so I was thrilled with this fun-filled, feel good and fab book. It was totally worth all the strange looks I got for reading/thinking about this novel with a big stupid grin on my face in public places. Rosie wrote hilarious yet natural characters in a charming way and there's plenty of ridiculous dates proving that your love life really isn't as disastrous as you once thought when compared to Nicola...

Sworn Secret by Amanda Jennings.

My Review

I love that Amanda's books are in this list twice, especially since she'd pretty much convinced me I wasn't going to love Sworn Secret all that much... I went back to read Amanda's first novel after loving The Judas Scar and this was another one-sitting read. I am amazed and in awe of her wonderful writing and I had no idea where this novel was going. Everything unfolded in a stunning fashion and I can only complain that I haven't been able to read one book since this one!!

Love Me For Me by Jenny Hale.

My Review

I loved this gorgeous cover and the book impressed me even more. I think I took Love Me for Me in a different way to most readers would because I found it more emotional than I had expected. It's a lovely touching story and portrayed some strong messages in a stunning fashion. Jenny's writing is really heart-warming and a joy to read.

Who Are You? by Elizabeth Forbes.

My Review

Who Are You? is haunting enough just looking at that cover but the book is far more twisted... It's a completely unforgettable novel with the best characterisation. It's emotional and unnerving, full of control and cruel acts which needed some special writing to keep me reading. Lizzie wrote this perfectly for me and it's one of my favourite novels ever.

If I Could Turn Back Time by Nicola Doherty.

My Review

I was so lucky to win a signed copy of this novel from Nicola and it came at the right time because it got me out of a massive reading slump (though once it was finished, it put me right back into that reading slump...). If I Could Turn Back Time is fabulous, entertaining chick lit which kept a big smile on my face throughout. I described it as the perfect chick lit novel when I reviewed it and I still stand by that. I LOVED it!

Saturday 21 June 2014

Review ~ Deep Surrendering (Episode 4) by Chelsea M. Cameron.

Title: Deep Surrendering (Episode 4).
Author: Chelsea M. Cameron.
Genre: New Adult.
Publication Date: June 19, 2014.
Source: Review copy.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Purchase: Amazon UK | Amazon

For the first time since their relationship started, Fin and Marisol are on different pages in the bedroom, but Marisol is determined to make their last few days together count. Each moment is precious, but each shreds her fragile heart a little more. Can they get back on track and figure out a way to stay together even with thousands of miles between them?

*This is a novella of 20K words and the fourth in a series of novellas. They will release on the third Thursday of every month. The total number of episodes isn't final, but it will be from 12-14, which is two novel's worth of content. Due to adult content, this is not appropriate for anyone under the age of 17*

Deep Surrendering (Episode 4) really focuses on developing the relationship between Marisol and Fin and I liked how with Marisol taking more control, their relationship had a different edge in this instalment.

Although this book did focus a lot on their sexual relationship, I felt like their connection was a lot more real just in general. I loved that Fin’s revealing of secrets wasn’t forgotten, and I definitely wasn’t expecting what we found out in this episode! It wasn’t ground-breaking but it was interesting and gives a much better insight into what turned Fin into the person he has become.

I had been expecting this episode to be a bit more dramatic and less straightforward, especially since Episode 3 was quite easy-going. I do love seeing Fin and Marisol’s feelings develop though and the ending was great, although I did miss an added scene from Fin’s POV.

Chelsea always does a great job at teasing and leaving us in anticipation for the next book. She did it again here as Deep Surrendering (Episode 4) has set up Episode 5 really well and I’m thinking and hoping that there will be a big, unexpected twist to shake things up next.

Review also posted on Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon

Deep Surrendering (1) ~ My Review | Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon | B&N | Kobo
Deep Surrendering (2) ~ My Review | Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon | B&N | Kobo
Deep Surrendering (3) ~ My Review | Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon | B&N | Kobo

Chelsea M. Cameron is a YA/NA New York Times/USA Today Best Selling author from Maine. Lover of things random and ridiculous, Jane Austen/Charlotte and Emily Bronte Fangirl, red velvet cake enthusiast, obsessive tea drinker, vegetarian, former cheerleader and world's worst video gamer. When not writing, she enjoys watching infomercials, singing in the car and tweeting (this one time, she was tweeted by Neil Gaiman). She has a degree in journalism from the University of Maine, Orono that she promptly abandoned to write about the people in her own head. More often than not, these people turn out to be just as weird as she is.

Her New Adult Contemporary Romance titles include My Favorite Mistake, which has been bought by Harlequin along with a sequel, Deeper We Fall and Faster We Burn (April 20, 2013)

Her Young Adult books include Nocturnal, Nightmare and Neither, the first three books in The Noctalis Chronicles. The fourth and final book, Neverend will be out in 2013. Whisper, the first in The Whisper Trilogy is also available, with the second book in the series, Silence and the final book, LIsten coming out in 2014.

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