Sunday, 24 May 2015

Wellies and Westies by Cressida McLaughlin

Out Now
Published by Harpercollins
Purchase from Amazon here

The Blurb:

Hilarious, touching and fun, Primrose Terrace will appeal to dog lovers everywhere and fans of Lucy Diamond, Cathy Bramley and Trisha Ashley.

Catherine ‘Cat’ Palmer realises, too late, that bringing an adorable puppy into work at the local nursery was a bad idea, especially after the ensuing chaos gets her the sack.
Determined to turn a negative into a positive, Cat decides this is the perfect opportunity to get her dog-walking business off the ground with the help of her flatmates, Polly and Joe. After all, Primrose Terrace where she lives, is full of home-alone hounds…

My Review:

Wellies & Westies is the first of a four part serialised novel and I am hooked! Welcome to the world of Cat Palmer, and what a fun world I feel it is going to be. As we meet Cat she has taken a puppy in her bag to work at a nursery. Not her best decision when her boss finds out and fires her.

But for Cat is the start of a new potential career as a dog walker. As the business takes off we laugh at her exploits, and meet some of her neighbours in Primrose Terrace. I loved the locals and her flatmate. They brought a really fun, but sentimental element to the series and I reckon they are going to be great fun to follow in the future.

I lay in bed reading this with my Westie, Mr Sniffles lying beside me. He looked up at me strangely as I laughed out loud more than once when reading, and I was able to give him a big cuddle when I had finished. I even contemplated becoming a dog walker like Cat, but between memories of his exploits, and the chaos in the book I may have changed my mind...

Cressida is a great author. I often struggle with serialised novels because it's hard to get to know the characters in small snippets, and I feel left hanging. This isn't the case with Wellies and Westies. Her skilled writing and descriptions made me feel I knew Cat and the gang as soon as I met them. I wanted to move in to Primrose Terrace and join them. I reckon it would be great fun. She has also left me really excited about the second part, Sunshine and Spaniels, which is out on 18 June.

Wellies and Westies is a fabulous read. It will make you laugh and want more, leaving you with a warm smile and happy feeling. It is hard to put down and you are likely to devour it in one sitting and be left wanting the next installment.

Thank you to Harpercollins who kindly provided a copy in return for an honest review.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

We Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman

Publication date: 21 May 2015
Published by Ebury
Purchase from Amazon here

My rating: 5 out of 5 - absolute perfection!!

The Blurb:

Do not miss me, because I will always be with you…I am the air, the moon, the stars. For we are all made of stars, my beloved... Wherever you look, I will be there.

Stella Carey exists in a world of night. Married to a soldier who has returned from Afghanistan injured in body and mind, she leaves the house every evening as Vincent locks himself away, along with the secrets he brought home from the war.

During her nursing shifts, Stella writes letters for her patients to their loved ones - some full of humour, love and practical advice, others steeped in regret or pain – and promises to post these messages after their deaths.

Until one night Stella writes the letter that could give her patient one last chance at redemption, if she delivers it in time…

We Are all Made of Stars is an uplifting and heartfelt novel about life, loss and what happens in between from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Memory Book.

My Review:

Dear Rowan Coleman

I love you! I didn't think you could surpass the brilliance of The Memory Book, but I was wrong! We Are All Made of Stars is beautiful, moving, uplifting and inspirational. These are just four of many many words I could use to describe this masterpiece. I read many books that leave me going 'oh wow, what a great read', but this is a step up from that. This isn't just a story, to me it was so much more than that. It touched me and it feels like a powerful reminder of how important love is. Thank you for sharing this with us.

The characters you have created are wonderful. Stella is just a total inspiration. Her ability to show so much love to others when going through turmoil in her own life is a reminder to me to always stay strong, see the best in everyone, love lots and show love and empathy to others.

People may be wondering why on earth I am writing this review as a letter to you. see readers, one of the amazing things that Stella does in her job as a nurse in a hospice is to write letters on behalf of those whose time is coming to an end. These letters are scattered throughout the book and are simply beautiful and touched my heart. Thank you for reminding me how important it is to show and tell people we care about just how much they mean to us. I am a massive fan of letter writing, and someone taking the time to put pen to paper and write their feelings, or sometimes a funny anecdote or memory. Having seen some friends lose those they love recently I have noticed how comforting seeing someone's words on paper can be.

I always envisaged a hospice as a place where people go to die. But this book shows that there is more to a hospice than that. Hope has cystic fibrosis and has gone to the hospice for some rehabilitation before going home. She is a young lady and I found her story very uplifting. The relationship with her best friend is wonderful and will have you rooting for her all the way through.

And I can't not mention Vincent, Stella's husband. Vincent has been injured in the army where he lost a leg. He is having trouble adjusting to this loss and the changes it has bought into his life. He is really at battle with himself and his emotions, and as a reader I felt myself to really absorbed by his and Stella's fight to see whether this is a battle they can win or not.

There is one very special letter that Stella writes which intertwines with one of the characters we meet. The person who wrote it is in their last days and wants to make peace with her past, but is worried that it isn't going to be easy. Stella has to wrestle with the dilemma over whether to intervene and try and help them find peace or to follow the writers wishes. I knew straight away what I wanted her to do!

I am finding it very hard to put into words just how much I loved this book without giving it all away and spoiling it for others. So please forgive me. But it is for me a must read. I read it on kindle and I have pre-ordered a paper copy as well.

Rowan, thank you so much for creating a perfect book, which brings us readers some very wise and touching moments and some fantastic passages which I fully intend to bookmark and read over often. To me this was more than a book with a story, it was a book of inspiration and highlights what makes life count. Life isn't always a bed of roses but those are the times that build our character, show us who cares and that if we fight we can keep going. It could easily become my how to love and live life to the full bible.

I have also become inspired to start letter writing rather than just texting or emailing. We Are Made of Stars has reminded me that life is for living, laughing and loving and I hope to be able to do all three for many years to come!

Thank you Rowan for writing such an amazing book. I can't wait to see what you have in store for us next.


Thank you to Ebury who kindly provided a copy in return for an honest review.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Cover Reveal - Dear Darling by Ellen Faith

Hey all

So pleased to be able to share the gorgeous cover for Ellen Faith's new book, Dear Darling which will be published this summer.

‘I’m 30 years old and sat celebrating with a greasy pizza and a bottle of cheap plonk.’

On her 30th birthday, Ellie Darling decides that it’s time to start a diary. Mainly as a reminder for when she’s old and living with cats that she once had a life that wasn’t all bad. Even if it was one where at 30 years of age, she still refused to spend that extra £3 on the good wine instead of chocolate.

But when the only proposal she gets from her boyfriend on Valentine’s Day is that of a threesome, she decides that enough is enough! With a new, improved job as Personal Assistant to one of the most feared Partners at her law firm – one that she doesn't seem to be able to stop dreaming about – Ellie decides that this will be her year. And if she has to run errands for her boss’ neurotic Russian girlfriend or drag her best friend to a sponsored cycle with her now gay first love, then so be it.


Ellen lives in the wonderful county of Yorkshire, England where she spends most of her time baking, eating, baking, and eating. Occasionally she does leave the house to go to the cinema or do some food shopping though. 

After spending years with an overactive imagination, she decided to put all the magic in her head to some good use and put finger to laptop where The Story of Us was born and became her debut novel. 

She loves to travel, her favourite destinations so far have all been in America, hence the love of all things, and all people, American. The food rocks pretty hard too, she ate until her jeans begged her to stop whilst she was there. True fact.

Aside from day dreaming and eating, Ellen is a sucker for a lolcat, penguins and monkeys - she has never claimed to be normal. 


Monday, 4 May 2015

Cocktails in Chelsea by Nikki Moore

Out Now
Published by Harperimpulse
Purchase from Amazon here

My Rating: 4 stars - good flirty fun

The Blurb: 

Fun & flirty short story from the exciting new chick lit author Nikki Moore!
Made in Chelsea?
Nathan Black is on a mission to prove himself. His family may be upper class and his cousin Matt might be a famous music producer, but he's going to make it on his own. So as soon as he has enough money set aside, he's quitting his bar-tending job on the King's Road and opening up his own cocktail bar. He hasn't got time for love, and definitely not with the spoilt Chelsea Princesses who flirt with him shamelessly every night. But is there something a bit different about the pretty blonde who's just walked in?
Bournemouth girl Sofia Gold is reluctantly visiting old childhood friends in London for Easter weekend. Keenly aware she's not part of their glamorous world, she's more comfortable riding a surfboard than wearing designer dresses and towering heels… although she's always had a soft spot for cocktails.
It's never really bothered Sofia that she's 'one of the boys,' and that her romantic experiences have been amazingly unspectacular, so when she meets gorgeous Nathan, why does she find herself faking an accent and pretending to be a London socialite? It can't be anything to do with impressing him, can it? After all, she's only in the capital for a few days…
But one impulsive kiss later, they both find themselves wishing for things they didn't know they wanted.

Spring in Chelsea – will love blossom? 

 My Review: 

Cocktails in Chelsea is a short, flirty and fun read. At just 40 pages it is quick enough to devour when you are commuting, or have a short amount of time to escape into another world. 

Sofia is up in London for the weekend to meet up with two old friends, one of whom she really isn't very fond of. They come from very different worlds. Sofia is living in Bournemouth and isn't really into glamour and glitz, unlike the other two who make it their aim to transform Sofia for the weekend.

They glam up and head off to a local bar, much to Sofia's dismay. But then she sets eyes on Nathan, the barman. He is hot hot hot and it became clear really quickly that there was more than a spark between them. But will that spark explode into a full on flame? I can't reveal!!

I enjoyed this latest installment in the #LoveLondon series and Nicki Moore has once again created characters that came to life easily for me. I liked Sofia, she was down to earth and had no interest in being just another girl interested in glamming up and being seen in hotspots. Because I liked her I wanted her to stand up to her friends, and also really go for it with Nathan. This kept me turning the pages to see what would happen. 

I of course liked Nathan. It took me back to my teenage years of watching Tom Cruise in Cocktail and imagining being wooed by a hot barman (it never happened and I'm far too old now!). He was my guilty pleasure in the story and I was willing to see Sofia live out my wish!

Do download this and give it a read to brighten up a boring journey, or to add some spice to a quiet moment.

Thanks to Harperimpulse who kindly provided a copy in return for an honest review.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

The Wednesday Group by Sylvia True

Out Now
Published by St Martins Press
Purchase from Amazon here

My Rating: 4 stars - a great and unique story

The Blurb:

Gail. Hannah. Bridget. Lizzy. Flavia. Each of them has a shameful secret, and each is about to find out that she is not alone… Gail, a prominent Boston judge, keeps receiving letters from her husband's latest girlfriend, while her husband, a theology professor, claims he's nine-months sober from sex with grad students. Hannah, a homemaker, catches her husband having sex with a male prostitute in a public restroom. Bridget, a psychiatric nurse at a state hospital, is sure she has a loving, doting spouse, until she learns that he is addicted to chat rooms and match-making websites. Lizzy, a high school teacher, is married to a porn addict, who is withdrawn and uninterested in sex with her. Flavia was working at the Boston Public library when someone brought her an article that stated her husband had been arrested for groping a teenage girl on the subway. He must face court, and Flavia must decide if she wants to stay with him. Finally, Kathryn, the young psychologist running the group, has as much at stake as all of the others.

As the women share never-before-uttered secrets and bond over painful truths, they work on coming to terms with their husbands' addictions and developing healthy boundaries for themselves. Meanwhile, their outside lives become more and more intertwined, until, finally, a series of events forces each woman to face her own denial, betrayal and uncertain future head-on.

From author Sylvia True comes The Wednesday Group, a captivating, moving novel about friendship, marriage, and the bonds that connect us all.

My Review:

What a brilliant and original idea this is! I loved it! Five ladies bought together when they discover their husbands have a sex addiction. I wasn't sure what to expect, and thought it might just be a tacky lurid account of sexual wrong I was. The Wednesday Group is a gripping and delicately told story of women who have been betrayed by their husbands.

Through the book we get to know each of the women, how they have been betrayed and the impact it has had, both on their relationships, but also on the women themselves. What I loved was that these are not weak subservient women, they are strong and successful in their own right, yet are of course still vulnerable. Each situation was quite complex and gritty. I liked the way the author made me feel like I could connect with each woman's situation and empathise with them but not in a pitying way. Yes, I felt sorry for them as it must be an awful situation to be in, but the women were more real than that, so at times I didn't particularly like them, or felt annoyed at their behaviour, which got me questioning their relationships and pondering whether they played any part in their husbands behaviour. As the book progresses we also begin to see just how far into recovery each of the men are, and some of their behaviour has consequences that spread far wider than just within their marriage.

Each chapter alternated between the women, which I really enjoyed. It allowed me to focus on them and get to know them as an individual and as a couple which then helped me relate to them. That said, some really powerful stuff happens when the women come together as a group, and I enjoyed the strength that came from them supporting eachother. I love books which have groups of women who are all different but inspire and look out for eachother, I definitely found that with these five ladies. There is emotion and at times I felt anger, sadness but also strong and determined when reading.

I found the book totally compelling. I was hooked and found it hard to put down. I wanted to know not only their story, but what would happen next, I have a very clear image of how I believe I would deal with finding out my partner was cheating, let alone a sex addict. But this story really made me question whether I could actually forgive and forget, and is cheating always a reflection of being a failure, which is how I imagine I would feel if it happened to me and I found out.

Gritty, compelling, emotional, uplifting and empowering, this is a fantastic read. I really would recommend The Wednesday Group. I am looking forward to seeing what Sylvia publishes next.

Thank you to the publisher who kindly provided a copy of the book in return for an honest review.