GUEST POST: Planner or Panster? by Karen Aldous (& giveaway!)

Amazon UK
Blurb:
Escape to Tuscany this summer with Karen Aldous’s brilliantly uplifting read. Perfect for fans of Erica James and Cathy Kelly.

A summer she’ll never forget…

When Olivia Montague’s grandmother passes away, she decides it’s finally time to make some changes in her own life. So she breaks up with her ‘going nowhere’ boyfriend and embarks on a journey to her Nonna’s home in Tuscany.

Until now, Olivia has always believed that she’s incapable of love, after being abandoned by her parents as a baby. But with each day spent at the gorgeous villa nestled in the rolling Italian hills, she feels her heart begin to flutter…

And when handsome antiques dealer Hugh St. James arrives on the scene, she realises things might be about to change forever! Continue reading

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Tips on dealing with hay fever 

Whether summer has hit where you are right now or not, chances are, if you’re a hay fever sufferer like me, you’ve already started or are starting to think about what you’re going to do to make these summer months sneeze-free. I have been a chronic hay fever sufferer since I was little and whilst I am eternally grateful that that is where my ailments stop and whilst I’m fully aware it could be much, much worse, that doesn’t mean that I don’t suffer terribly during the summer. Because I do. Boy, I do. Think about my eyes so swollen I can barely see and not being able to breathe through my nose without the help of a nasal spray for months on end. What a pretty sight that is!

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Guest Post: Keeping Your Dog Cool in the Summer

Hi all! Continuing with my week of guest posts whilst I’m away on my holidays, today I have a post from Ashley at Blonde Fashion Happy with some tips and tricks on keeping your doggies cool when summer arrives! It’s super important to keep your dogs healthy when it’s super hot out and some of these are really great ideas!

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Guest Post: Top Five Places I Would Most Like to Visit and Why (& Giveaway!)

I’m not shy to a bit of wanderlust – spending hours on Pinterest lusting over the green forests, the crystal clear waters, the perfect beaches and the endless supply of ‘Places you must visit’ posts. Although chances are I’ll never actually make it to any of these places, a girl can still dream from afar right? Today I have Bella Osborne, author of A Family Holiday talking about 5 places she would most love to visit! And make sure you scroll down to the end of the post for a cheeky little giveaway!

Guest Post Five Places Continue reading

15 Reasons Why I Hate Summer

If you ever need to look for a real-life Elsa, you need look no further. I am the human equivalent in that I love the cold. Like seriously, love it. So naturally, I have a bit of a freak-out every time summer comes around and aside from all of the BBQ’s, there’s not a single thing I like about it. Here is my list of 15 reasons why I hate summer which you can read whilst I hibernate until October.

15 Reasons Why I Hate Summer Continue reading

August wrap-up: No Books But At Least There’s Bake Off!

Firstly, I’d just like to sincerely apologise for how boring this August wrap-up could potentially be. August has been a pretty good month but believe it or not, I haven’t received anything in the post nor have I actually bought anything that you might want to see! But, I did finally get to see my best friend again, make some progress on my WIP amongst other things so although there’s not much to show you, I can still waffle a bit about what I’ve been up to and what’s to come over the next month!

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Let’s get the important stuff out the way first; this month I was finally reunited with my best friend Lynsey James! She came to stay with me for the second time and we had a great time. We made cakes and cocktails, had takeaways and a gorgeous BBQ, spent all da relaxing in the garden and had a ride to the seaside one evening. Continue reading

June Wrap-up: Cute Gifts & Chick Lit

Hi guys! Welcome to yet another wrap-up post. I swear the last one is only up for a day before I have to start writing another one! Well, I hope you’ve all had a lovely June and the weather is warming up where you are. June has been pretty good for me too – bookish and otherwise! So lets get to it!

What I’ve Received, Bought and Won

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Publishers: The Dress by Kate Kerrigan (Head of Zeus), My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologies by Fredrik  Backman (Bookbridgr) and Bull Mountain by Brian Panowich (Head of Zeus) Won: Full Brazillian by Cintia Silva with Teena Lyons Bought: The Fire Within by Chris d’Lacey (a childhood favourite of mine I’m desperate to read again!) I also received a lovely little wish bracelet from Lynsey James as a thank you for helping out with her book. Continue reading

Book Review: Game of Scones by Samantha Tonge

25128834Title: Game of Scones
Author: Samantha Tonge
Format: eBook, NetGalley
Links: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Goodreads | Twitter


Blurb: A story of icing and flour…and how love doesn’t always go to plan!

Growing up, Pippa Pattinson’s summers were spent in the idyllic Greek island fishing village of Taxos. There she spent many long hazy days determinedly ignoring thoughts of the life her parents had mapped out for her (a dreary-but-secure banking job and obligatory sensible husband!) Instead she daydreamed of running her own tea shop – serving the perfect scones –with mocha-eyed childhood friend Niko by her side…

Arriving back in Taxos for the first time in years, with suave boyfriend Henrik, Pippa barely recognises the tired little town – but is relieved to catch glimpses of the quaint, charming village she’s always loved. Together Niko and Pippa put together a proposal to save Taxos from tourist-tastic ruin, and at the heart of their plan is Pippa’s dream project – The Tastiest Little Tea Shop in Taxos. It’s time for Pippa to leave her London life behind and dust off her scone recipe that’s guaranteed to win over both locals and visitors. And amidst the rolling pins and raisins, it seems romance is blossoming where she’s least expecting it… Continue reading

Book Review: Close My Eyes by Sophie McKenzie

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What it’s about:

It’s been eight years since Geniver Loxley lost her daughter, Beth. Since that day, Gen has been floundering. While her husband Art builds his business reputation and their fortune, she can’t let go of Beth. And then one day, everything changes. A strange woman shows up on Gen’s doorstep, saying the very thing she longs to hear: that Beth is alive. That she is out there somewhere, waiting for Gen to find her…

It’s insane. Unthinkable. But why would someone make up such a story? Ignoring the warnings of her husband and friends, Gen begins to hope – hope that quickly turns into fear and paranoia. With questions swirling around her head, Gen is determined to uncover the truth. But who can she trust? Why is Art so reluctant to get involved? To save his wife from further hurt? Or something much more sinister? Is Beth even really out there? And, if so, who is responsible for taking her?

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Review:

This is the second book from the Richard and Judy summer reading challenge I decided to tackle and I’ve been quite excited about writing up my review about it. Unlike everything else I seem to have read lately, I actually have something other than just excellent points about the book to say. This story is about a woman called Geniver who tragically had a stillbirth 8 years ago. Then one day a woman knocks on her door and claims to know that her baby, whom she named, ‘Beth’, is actually still alive and out there. Somewhere. This information turns Geniver’s life upside down and after confiding in an unlikely source to help her uncover the truth she unravels a series of events that leave her unable to trust anyone. Even her own husband. This story covers the unlikely bond between strangers, learning that you may not be able to trust someone you thought you could and the effect family has on us all.

I was a bit apprehensive about reading this at first because according to the blurb at the back of the book if you are fans of Sophie Hannah novels then you should like this one. I’m sorry to say, but I’m really not a fan of Sophie Hannah’s novels so that instantly put me off. However, I feel I was proven wrong as eventually, it was a very gripping, tense and enjoyable novel. At first, I thought this book was very slow-paced. I felt it took a good few chapters for anything ‘significant’ to happen and it did take a while for me to ‘get into it’ so to speak. About 1/3rd of the way through was when I really got hooked and the ending of most chapters was left on a cliff-hanging, forcing me to read on. It was a fairly addictive read and I have to give the author credit for an original storyline however all-in-all I do feel it was all a bit far-fetched and predictive. There are a few specific scenes in the book which were quite intense, e.g. sex or fight scenes and I felt they were all a bit rushed. For example, the whole chapter would be leading up to the event and then the whole scene would happen in a matter of lines. This book is written from the point of view of the main character, Geniver, so I would have liked to hear more of what she’s feeling in that moment of fear or passion rather than simply, what’s happening in front of her. Once the initial story is over, it all comes to a very abrupt end and then all of a sudden, we’re a few years into the future and Geniver is summing up what happened to her and the characters. While it was good how you find out how they all end up in the end, I personally found it as a bit of a clean ending for Geniver. Call me a pessimist but I think in the end, everything worked out a bit too well, considering the complications of the story.

I know I’ve made some quite specific points here about what I didn’t like about this novel but in all honesty I really did enjoy it. McKenzie gives you a good sense of the characters through Geniver’s eyes, her life and the way she feels towards her husband and friends. I also really liked how nothing is given away. You’re in exactly the same boat as Geniver and you know just as much about her missing child as she does. There’s small snippets throughout the book from a child’s point of view but to me, they gave nothing away. If anything, they made me more confused! The fact that you’re both on the same page in terms of finding out the truth made me feel like I was more with the character, rather than just reading about her and her story and it definitely left me on the edge of my seat, hoping that in the end, she really will find out the truth.