Here Come the Boys

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Angie Silveroak and her husband are taking a much-needed holiday on the cruise ship Mermaidia, so the last person she hopes to bump into on the first night is her one-time best friend Selina and the man Selina stole from her and married twenty years ago.
And what she needs even less is to be marooned in Malaga with Selina when both of them manage to miss boarding the ship in port.
It will take three days for them to travel across Europe to catch up with the ship again in Croatia. And in the company of each other twenty-four/seven, a lot of old baggage is going to be unloaded.

My opinion: I am fast becoming a massive Milly Johnson fangirl. I have only recently discovered her writing and am yet to read a book that is less than fabulous.

This novella follows Angie as she goes on an indulgent cruise holiday with her husband Gil. They meet some characters on board, although poor Gil gets seasick, leaving Angie to go sightseeing in Malaga alone. She misjudges the time that the ship is due to leave and ends up getting left behind with only her handbag and ship boarding card to her name. However, she isn’t left behind alone. Selina, her former best friend was aboard the ship as well, with her husband Zander. Who she stole from Angie twenty years ago. With three days until they can meet the ship in Croatia, they have a lot of catching up to do.

This is a very quick read, but still a great story. Angie still holds a candle for her ex and has never forgiven Selina. But of course, things are never as they seem. I read this in one sitting and only wish it was longer. I am hoping that we will meet Selina and Angie in a future book as I would love to know what happens next.

At the end of the book there is an excerpt from Milly’s newest novel, The Teashop on the Corner. I have been lucky enough to read it already and can guarantee that it is another cracker! The Teashop on the Corner is published on the 19th June and I will review on the same date. It is available for pre-order now!!

My rating: Five stars

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Blog Tour: The Vintage Summer Wedding

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Today I am taking part in the blog tour for The Vintage Summer Wedding and have a Q&A with the lovely Jenny Oliver.

  1.  Are your characters loosely based on real people?

Not consciously! I’m sure there are elements in there of lots of people that I know or stories I’ve been told that resonated but otherwise they are entirely fictional. Philippe and Rachel appeared in my first book The Parisian Christmas Bake Off and I found that I missed them when the book was done so it was really nice to bring them back for more – Philippe especially, he’s a favourite of mine!

  1.  Would you personally prefer an extravagant wedding or a low budget vintage wedding?

Low budget vintage definitely, which is actually what I did have – lots of candles, bunting, geraniums in flower pots, mismatched china and lanterns hanging from the trees. I leave the big extravagant weddings to other people and really enjoy them when I’m invited! A friend got married at Babington House a couple of years ago which was stunning – there were fireworks at midnight, big glinting candelabras on all the tables and trays of espresso martinis – it was as close as I’ve come to feeling like a celebrity!

  1.  What is your favourite wedding song?

Ooh I don’t know. When Dolly Parton comes on I head straight to the dance floor – does that count as a wedding song?

  1.  Did you learn anything from writing The Vintage Summer Wedding, and what was it?

I learnt an awful lot about ballet and the dedication it takes to be a star. I also reaffirmed the idea that good is good enough which is something I often forget – you can only ever do your best. In the book Anna is taught that lesson by a bunch of school kids auditioning for Britain’s Got Talent which was really fun to write.

  1.  If you could meet any of your own characters, who would it be and what would you say?

Philippe definitely – he really makes me laugh and he’s so good looking that I’d just gaze at him across the table. I would also quite like to have lunch with Hermione from The Vintage Summer Wedding because she’s so brash and I think would be great fun to be around (although I’d never want to cross her!).

  1.  What has been the best part about writing The Vintage Summer Wedding?

I wrote it in the depths of winter so it was lovely to feel the sun. I love the ending as well – that was probably the most enjoyable part to write – I don’t want to give it away so you’ll have to read it to find out why!

  1.  Give us an interesting fun fact about your book.

Nearly all the antiques in it are things that someone in my family owns, I’ve bought, been given or nearly bought over the years.

  1.  Who is your favourite character from your book and why?

Hermoine definitely. She’s a fab secondary character because she breezes in all audacious and causes trouble. I love her (and her clothes!)

  1.  Are you a good dancer?

No. I think I’m more enthusiastic than good.

10. If you had the chance to be part of a reality TV show, which would it be and why?

Good question. I’d quite like to pop into the Big Brother house just for a night to see what it’s like (I’d be terrible on the show though because I’d get caught gossiping about the other contestants!) and I’d swing by the King’s Road to have a glass of champagne on Made in Chelsea. At the moment I’d quite like to go on the Bear Grylls Island programme with all the men trying to survive in the wild because I think it’d be good to see how a group of women would fare in the same position.

11. There’s a pinterest competition running for this book – did you have a collection of images to inspire you while writing this book?

I didn’t but having done my Vintage Summer Wedding Pinterest board I definitely will in the future. I loved doing it – much better than working. I think it’s a new must for every book. Can’t wait to see other people’s vintage wedding inspired boards…

Jenny’s pinterest board can be found here:

http://www.pinterest.com/carinauk/the-vintage-summer-wedding-blog-tour/

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Spending the summer uncovering hidden treasures in a vintage shop, Anna can still vividly remember both her childhood dreams; the first was that she’d become a Prima Ballerina, and dance on stage resplendent in a jewel-encrusted tutu. The second was that at her wedding she would walk down the aisle wearing a collective-gasp-from-the-congregation dress.

Years ago Anna pirouetted out of her cosy hometown village in a whirl of ambition…but when both of those fairy-tale dreams came crashing down around her ballet shoes, she and fiancée Seb find themselves back in Nettleton, their wedding and careers postponed indefinitely…

Don’t they say that you can never go home again? Sometimes they don’t get it right… This one summer is showing Anna that your dreams have to grow up with you. And sometimes what you think you wanted is just the opposite of what makes you happy…

JENNY OLIVER wrote her first book on holiday when she was ten years old. Illustrated with cut-out supermodels from her sister’s Vogue, it was an epic, sweeping love story not so loosely based on Dynasty.

Since then Jenny has gone on to get an English degree, a Masters, and a job in publishing that’s taught her what it takes to write a novel (without the help of the supermodels). She wroteThe Parisian Christmas Bake Off on the beach in a sea-soaked, sand-covered notebook andThe Vintage Summer Wedding is her follow up. Follow her on Twitter @JenOliverBooks

The book is currently available for £2.99 as Google Play Read of the Week and you can download it here –http://bit.ly/1tnH0t5

Or on Amazon here.

You’re the One That I Want

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Maddy, dressed in white, stands at the back of the church. At the end of the aisle is Rob – the man she’s about to marry. Next to Rob is Ben – best man and the best friend any two people ever had. And that’s the problem. Because if it wasn’t Rob waiting for her at the altar, there’s a strong chance it would be Ben. Loyal and sensitive Ben has always kept his feelings to himself, but if he turned round and told Maddy she was making a mistake, would she listen? And would he be right?

Best friends since childhood, Maddy, Ben and Rob thought their bond was unbreakable. But love changes everything. Maddy has a choice to make but will she choose wisely? Her heart, and the hearts of the two best men she knows, depend on it…

My opinion: I loved Giovanna’s first book Billy and Me when I read it last year and was very excited to be given the opportunity to read You’re the One that I want pre-publication.

The story centres around three best friends, Maddy, Rob and Ben and we take a journey through their lives and learn how they got to where they are today. The three of them met in primary school and hit it off straight away, becoming an inseparable threesome for the rest of their school lives. As they grow older, they change and things happen, but their friendship remains solid until, as teenagers, Rob and Maddy become a couple. Ben has to hide his feelings for Maddy when this happens and has to live with knowing the fact that the girl he is in love with loves his best friend.

I’m going to come right out and say it, I was disappointed by this book. It was nothing to do with the writing which was just as good as Billy and Me. I also liked the style that it was written in and how the story panned out over time. My reasons for being disappointed with the book are, I’m sure, entirely personal and I just really didn’t like Maddy. I didn’t feel that I connected with her at all, and there were two things that happened in the book made me really dislike her as they were things that really drive me mad.

Because Maddy was such an integral part to the book, this was the reason why I didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped I would, but it wouldn’t stop me from reading another of Giovanna’s books, or indeed stop me raving about how fantastic Billy and Me was. In all honesty though, I wouldn’t read another book about these characters as I just don’t care enough about them.

My rating: Three stars

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Netgalley and Penguin UK in return for an honest review

After the Honeymoon

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Two couples, one honeymoon destination, and enough secrets to end both marriages. Perfect for fans of Jill Mansell

How can one honeymoon cause so much trouble?

Much as Emma loves Tom, she would never have got married if he hadn’t insisted. But with Tom sick for the whole week, shouldn’t she at least take advantage of the entertainment?

Winston married Melissa after a three-month whirlwind romance. As a breakfast TV fitness star, he’s anxious to keep things private. But the arrival of Melissa’s two children soon puts paid to that.

Rosie arrived at the Villa Rosa homeless and pregnant when she was just seventeen. Now, sixteen years later, she runs the place. However, the appearance of Winston throws her into confusion. He might not remember her, but she has never forgotten him.

By the end of the week, none of their lives will be the same. But how will they cope after the honeymoon is over?

My opinion:When I was contacted by Janey about After the Honeymoon I jumped at the chanceto read and review it as it sounded great. I got stuck into it straight away and was immediately hooked into the worlds of the characters.

Emma is a young mum of two who gets married to her childhood sweetheart Tom. She loves Tom and their little family, but had never been too fussed about getting married. They married at Tom’s insistence and one of their wedding presents was a honeymoon at a small villa on a Greek island. Just the two of them, without the children. With her mum looking after the children, and Tom getting sick as soon as they arrive, one week becomes a testing situation for the newly weds and gives Emma some chance to be herself for the first time in a few years.

Winston is a TV star fitness trainer (I was imagining a modern Mr Motivator!) and has married mother of two Melissa. They met on set when she was his make up artist, and three months later they are on honeymoon at the same small villa in Greece, in an attempt to get some privacy away from the press on their own. That is until his step children get shipped over by their father who should be looking after them, and the past comes back to haunt him.

Rosie is part owner of the Villa Rosa and runs it with the help of her son Jack, friend Greco and island lothario Yannis. Rosie is trying her best to keep the business going and has been helped by friends back in the UK to spread the word about the villa. When Winston turns up, she has some decisions to make on whether to drag up the pastor just to let sleeping dogs lie.

As soon as I started reading this book, I just knew I was going to love it. The lives of the characters are wonderfully intertwined and everyone of them has real depth and well thought through back stories. My favourite character was Rosie. She just seemed so genuine and grounded, a real salt of the earth type person. As I got to the end of each chapter, I just wanted to read more. The book also made me look forward to my own Greek holiday this year!

The book is quite hefty at nearly 500 pages, but doesn’t drag in any way, is well paced and I could have kept reading it for even longer! It was a very welcome companion on a couple of long train journeys and I felt like I could lose myself in the story completely. Janey’s writing style is very easy to read and friendly. I was really impressed by how detailed each of the storylines were, how they intertwined in such a perfect way and how no stone was left unturned!

This book would make a fantastic holiday read and I urge everyone to go out and buy it to share my enthusiasm! You may have guessed that I really loved this book and really want to read some more of Janey’s previous books.

My rating: A wonderful five stars

I was sent an advance copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

I Heart New York

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Get ready to meet Angela Clark as she flees the world’s worst wedding for a new life…

It’s official. Angela Clarke is in love – with the most fabulous city in the world.

Fleeing her cheating boyfriend and clutching little more than a crumpled bridesmaid dress, a pair of Louboutins and her passport, Angela jumps on a plane, destination – NYC.

Holed up in a cute hotel room, Angela gets a New York makeover from her NBFJenny and a whirlwind tour of the city that never sleeps. Before she knows it, Angela is dating two sexy guys. And, best of all, she gets to write about it in her new blog (Carrie Bradshaw eat your heart out). But it’s one thing telling readers about your romantic dilemmas, it’s another figuring them out for yourself …

Angela has fallen head over heels for the big apple, but does she heart New York more than home?

My opinion: I have had a few of the I heart series in my TBR pile for a while now, and after reading About a Girl last year, I knew I wanted to read them sooner rather than later.

I Heart New York is the first book in the series and we meet Angela Clark as she is carrying out bridesmaid duties at her best friend’s wedding. It all kiks off very early on when she finds her fiance cheating on her in the back of their car at the wedding reception. Within hours and armed only with the contents of her massive handbag, a bridesmaid dress and some fabulous shoes, she flees England on the first flight she can get on. Which just happens to be going to New York. After checking into a random hotel, the receptionist, Jenny Lopez, takes her under her wing and soon she is getting made over, both on the outside and inside, and is considering a new life. Couple that with a fabulous freelance job and dates with two hot men, she embarks on quite an adventure!

I was hooked on this book from the very first page. The scene at the wedding where Angela catches her fiance having sex with someone else in the back of their car is an absolutely mortifying situation, but was so, so funny when I was reading it. The style of writing reminded me of one of my favourite authors, Jane Costello. I really liked Angela right from the word go and thought that she was really brave to go to the other side of the world with no plan and no friends or contacts there, even if she was running away from her situation in the UK.

When  Angela gets back on the horse and starts dating both handsome banker Taylor and hot rock star Alex, I had a clear favourite between them and loved the twist that really proved me wrong in my choice. I won’t say too much here as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read it!

A fantastic, funny chick lit book which proves to me why I enjoy the genre so much. Pure fun and escapism, with some romance and shopping chucked in for good measure. If you haven’t read any of the I heart series, then I can definitely recommend it.

My rating: A fabulous five stars

The Geography of You and Me

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Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they’re rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen’s relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and — finally — a reunion in the city where they first met.

A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith’s new novel shows that the center of the world isn’t necessarily a place. It can be a person, too.

My opinion: I was really excited when I received this book for review. I had seen that a lot of other book bloggers had enjoyed the book and loved the cover so couldn’t wait to get stuck in over the bank holiday weekend.

Lucy and Owen are two teenagers who get stuck in a lift together in the apartment building where they both live in New York. Lucy lives with her parents who are away on yet another trip, and her brothers who have both gone off to university. Owen and his dad have recently moved to New York after his dad was offered the job of caretaker for the building following the sudden death of Owen’s mother. One shared evening and experience links Lucy and Owen together over the coming months, and despite both moving a number of times, they keep in touch with postcards.

This book is lovely and cute, with a real feel of old school innocence. I think this is highlighted by the way that Owen and Lucy mainly stay in contact by sending each other postcards, choosing, in the most part, to shun the more techy methods of contact favoured by teenagers these days. This book is a quick read and is well paced, and even though it’s not the most action packed story I have ever read, it still made me want to read more.

A very cute and wonderfully old fashioned love story, I’d recommend this for fans of YA and those who usually read romance and would like to give YA a go.

My rating: Four stars

I received a review copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.

The Yorkshire Pudding Club

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Three South Yorkshire friends, all on the cusp of 40, fall pregnant at the same time following a visit to an ancient fertility symbol.

For Helen, it’s a dream come true, although her husband is not as thrilled about it as she had hoped. Not only wrestling with painful ghosts of the past, Helen has to deal with the fact that her outwardly perfect marriage is crumbling before her eyes. For Janey, it is an unmitigated disaster as she has just been offered the career break of a life-time. And she has no idea either how it could possibly have happened, seeing as she and her ecstatic husband George were always so careful over contraception. For Elizabeth, it is mind-numbing, because she knows people like her shouldn’t have children. Damaged by her dysfunctional childhood and emotionally lost, she not only has to contend with carrying a child she doubts she can ever love, but she also has to deal with the return to her life of a man whose love she must deny herself.

Heart-warming, up-lifting, tear-jerking and lovely, THE YORKSHIRE PUDDING CLUB is the story of how three women find themselves empowered by unexpected pregnancy. How it revitalises one woman’s tired marriage, strengthens another’s belief in herself and brings love and warmth to a cold and empty life.

My opinion: After loving Milly’s latest book It’s Raining Men I have been looking forward to reading another of her books as soon as I can. When The Yorkshire Pudding Club was reduced on the Kindle, I couldn’t refuse a bargain and had to pick it up.

The Yorkshire Pudding Club follows the story of three best friends from Yorkshire, Helen, Janey and Elizabeth. Helen has been trying for a baby with her husband for a long time, but without luck. She manages to convince her best friends Janey and Elizabeth to visit an ancient fertility symbol with her as a last ditch attempt to change her luck and get pregnant. A few months later, she is not the only one who finds out that she is pregnant, although her friends aren’t quite so pleased. Janey has just been promoted at work, and even though she loves her husband, has never been entirely sure about whether she wants a baby. Elizabeth has just lost her job, isn’t in a relationship and hasn’t come to terms with her own childhood, let alone feel able to be responsible for someone elses.

This book is written in Milly’s lovely, friendly style and was brilliantly funny. I wasn’t sure about whether this book would be a bit predictable as it progressed, but I was pleasantly surprised that as it unfolded, it became more complicated and the story became a lot deeper. Despite the cheery cover and seemingly predicatable start, the book deals with some really tough issues and I commend Milly for her tact in the way she has dealt with them, whilst still making it feel real.

I really enjoyed this book and would love to hear more about the friends’ lives as their babies get older and how their love lifes have turned out. I’m already excited to read another book by Milly and expect to do so very soon!

My rating: Four stars