Monday, 20 February 2017

Review: Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

I’ve left some clues for you. If you want them, turn the page. If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.

At the urge of her lucky-in-love brother, sixteen-year-old Lily has left a red notebook full of dares on her favourite bookshop shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept. Curious, snarky Dash isn’t one to back down from a challenge – and the Book of Dares is the perfect distraction he’s been looking for.
As they send each other on a scavenger hunt across Manhattan, they’re falling for each other on paper. But finding out if their real selves share their on-page chemistry could be their biggest dare yet….

Review: So I had wanted to read this book for ages and I don't know why I hadn't got round to it until now, but I can definitely say it was worth the wait. I had heard that this book was set in New York but I didn't know how prominently it would feature in this novel. I loved how much of a character New York itself was and I think that this was one of my favourite things about this book. I could really picture where the characters lived and were heading and the places they met. What is great about the writing is that the description is so vivid, you don't need to have visited there, you can live from the descriptions on the page-wonderful!

The eponymous characters are, of course, wonderful as well! I liked the fact that they seemed to be the kind of people who don't normally go off on adventures like the one they encounter in this book. The book starts off with Dash finding this notebook, he could have left it alone, but his sense of adventure means that he picks up the notebook and takes on the first challenge. We can tell that both these characters are confident children of the city, as they are able to speak to people in shows, movie theatres, coffee shops and have no problem in attending a party on their own.

I identified with Lily more than Dash because this is something that she has done in an attempt to put herself out there and you can tell that she doesn't really know exactly what she's doing. I like that she has the confidence to do this. Something else i really liked about this character was the relationship that she has with her grandfather, I think this is a really sweet part of the story. Dash also forms a relationship with one on Lily's relatives and I definitely found this aspect interesting. I like the bond that he was able to form with Lily because of this too.

There are definitely some moments in the book where Dash and Lily seem to exhibit the typical teenage behavior of growing up , a bit of rebellion if you will, but on the whole I found them to be mature individuals. They definitely go on a journey over the course of the novel but I think that this isn't just something to be enjoyed by Young adults, I think that anyone who has a love of adventure and a love of New York would take as much from this book as I have.

The other thing I must mention that I particularly enjoyed about this book is the characters love of books as well. It all starts off in a bookstore and The Strand bookstore in New York features heavily i this novel. This book is therefore perfect for book lovers, it was a pacey read and I loved every moment of it!

To grab your copy, just click here!

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Book Spotlight; Becuase of You by Silvy Wells

Today I am here to spotlight another fab new book for you. Because of You was released yesterday and is from debut romance novelist Silvy Wells. Links to Amazon and Goodreads are below and, excitingly, there is also a book trailer-how fun!

Nicole Wellston realized that falling in love would bring her just pain. She was working in the biggest publishing company in New York and didn’t want anything but her job. With head into the books, she enjoyed in fictional characters more than the real ones.

Nicole had nothing to lose she already lost everything except her job.She worked hard and did her best to hide her loneliness, assuring her four supportive friends even herself that everything was perfect in her life. They knew that she needed love in her life or she would "kill" herself working, and they arranged her blind dates. According to Nicole, men who were chosen by her friends were a complete disaster. Nicole wanted to enjoy in the perfection of fictional characters instead of going on dates with those men.

One night Nicole went out with her friends and met Sebastian, a good looking psychoanalyst. His athletic body and dark green eyes would make her believe that everything was possible.

No matter how hard Nicole tried to find him a flaw, she could not, he was perfect.

After one beautiful and romantic weekend in Aspen Nicole and Sebastian were back in New York, happier and engaged, but Nicole read the article that one magazine published about her exposing her previous life with a shameful secret which wasn't true. She ran away. 

Did Sebastian love her enough to find her and bring her back?

Friday, 17 February 2017

Review: Girls Like Me by Lola StVil

Fifteen-year-old Shay Summers is trying to cope with the death of her father, being overweight, and threats from a girl bully in school.  When she falls in love with Blake, a mysterious boy online, insecure Shay doesn't want to tell him who she is.   But with the help of her two best friends, as well as an assist by Kermit and Miss Piggy, ultimately Shay and Blake’s love prevails. 
     Girls Like Me is a fun and fresh poetic take on teen angst, social media and online anonymity, and high school romance.

Review: I had never heard of this book before, but it was featured in my library and I saw that it was written in a mixture of verse, emails and text messages and so I was intrigued. I'll also admit that the cover drew me in too, i really love that cover. I like the simplicity and I like the fact that we have shay texting right there on the cover, letting the reader know the kind of thing they are in for. 

Because this book is written in verse and texts, it is obviously a very quick read. This is a, sit down one afternoon and read it, kind of book and I liked that I could devour the whole story in one. Despite the fact that it is written in this way and therefore makes for quite a short read, this book is very definitely a complete story. One of the things that struck me about the storyline was really how much I identified with it. I could definitely feel myself in shay's shoes, getting involved with something via email and text, not really knowing who they are but already having strong feeling with them and them having the power to brighten up a bad day. I also get the insecurities that come across in this book, not wanting to reveal to someone what you look like, in case they just suddenly stop speaking to you!

Shay was interesting as a character. She wasn't the most like able character, but as I have already said, she was definitely someone who was easy to identify with. She has a great couple of friends who are very diverse. One of her friends is very ill and the other is gay but hasn't yet come out to his dad. I liked that her friends were this diverse but I think it was maybe just one step too far when something happens to one of them, it almost felt like that particular part of the storyline was just being put in for diversity's sake and not because it would actually happen to that character. 

I thought the writing style was interesting. I've seen some reviews of this book that say they think that this author was just following the trend for things being written in a different way, but I like the fact that it made for a slightly quicker read. I think that email and text interactions give us a better insight into a character that just reading a description of them or an interaction with another character. I think the texts between Shay and her mystery man were on point and I really enjoyed the way the book was written. 

This book deals with a lot of issues including bullying which spans everyday school life and cyber bullying. We also have the LGBTQ issues, the issues of being a teenager that doesn't fit 'the norm' and dealing with a friend who has a terminal condition. This seems like maybe a little too many issues all in one short book, but this is the reality of what some people have to go through as they are growing up and so it seems relevant to me. i thought he issues were dealt with well and I enjoyed the book as a whole!

To get your copy, just click here!

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When they meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the two loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special kind of friendship--the kind of friendship that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through their friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves--and about the kind of people they want to be.

Review: I listened to this book on audio download from the library and it was read by Lin-Manuel Miranda which made it extra special so I would definitely recommend listening to this book if you can. Having said that, this was one of my first reads of the year and I absolutely loved it so I may just have to invest in a copy so that I can read this one again!

The storyline of this one is definitely hard to explain. It is the story of two friends and their journey on self discovery as they grow up both physically and emotionally. This somethings involves them growing together and sometimes involves them doing their self-discovery solo. I loved the friendship between these two characters and this is the strongest theme in this book. There are also LGBTQ issues dealt with as well as issues to do with bullying and immigration/racism. It is an incredibly relevant book, despite being set a few decades ago. Therefore it is definitely something to read if you are feeling slightly despondent about the state of the world!

These characters are really easy to like. I loved the fact that Ari takes on the role of the kind of stuck, in the mud, happy with his own ways boys boy and Dante becomes the wild, carefree character. Its like that saying about someone helping someone to be wild whilst the other helps them to stay grounded, this is definitely the kind of relationship that these boys have. I loved the relationship that they each had with their families too and I'm glad their families play a key part in the storyline. One of the reasons that these characters are so easy to relate to is because they are so realistic and you can easily imagine finding yourself in their shoes.

None of the issues explored in this book are shoved in your face, they are all woven into the storyline and the characters' personalities and are just so cleverly Incorporated and important. Because your become so involved with their lives, this becomes a quick read. Although this is a young adult book, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it as a 30 something and I think no matter what your age or reading genre preference, you would be able to take something from this book, enjoy the read and fall in love with these characters just as much as I did!

To grab your copy, click here!

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Guest QuickRead Review: A Very Distant Shore by Jenny Colgan

Wanted: doctor for small island. Must like boats, the seaside and having no hope of keeping a secret...
Lorna lives on the tiny Scottish island of Mure, a peaceful place where everyone helps their neighbour. But the local GP is retiring, and nobody wants his job. Mure is too small and too remote.
Far away, in a crowded camp, Saif is treating a little boy with a badly-cut hand. Saif is a refugee, but he's also a doctor: exactly what Mure needs.
Saif is welcome in Mure, but can he forget his past? Over one summer, Saif will find a place to call home, and Lorna's life will change forever.

Review: I was delighted to find this short story from the brilliant Jenny Colgan on the shelves of my local bookshop. It's part of the excellent Quick Reads series. I love short stories, but occasionally they fail to deliver; fortunately, this one didn't fall into that category. 

The story revolves around two main characters. The one we meet first is Saif, a refugee from the fighting in Syria who also happens to be a very well qualified doctor. The other main protagonist is Lorna, head teacher of the primary school on the small Scottish island of Mure, a community in sore need of a new doctor. That is how the characters come together and where the story really starts. 

I'm sure we have all seen the disturbing scenes on TV of boatloads of refugees landing on foreign shores, and those who weren't so lucky. This story looks at one of these refugees from a different perspective - what happens next. Despite their need for a medical professional, how will the people in this small community accept this man from another world as their new doctor, and how will he relate to them? Also, although he is lucky to be safe, there is the question of what has happened to his family and how can he find them. Saif and Lorna are brought together by her father's illness. As the weeks and months go by, their friendship grows, but how far can it, and will it, go?

I really enjoyed this story. It was definitely thought provoking and well worth reading. Although short, it was not lacking in depth and substance. All in all, an excellent way to pass a couple of hours. 

This book is available in paperback or Kindle and benefit the fabulous Quickreads! Just click here to get yours!

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Romantic Movies 14/2/17

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists over there at The Broke and the Bookish. I'd love to share my lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

If you've ever seen the kind of films I tweet about or even linked the kind of books that I write about to the kind of movies that I watch, you'll probably know that I'm a big fan of romantic movies. I know that making this list will make me want to watch all of these movies right now and so I'd better do the list quickly so I've got time to watch them all. Thank goodness my Mum is coming to visit so we can watch them all!

1. Love Actually

2. Grease

3. 10 Things I Hate About You

4. Pretty Woman

5. Sleepless in Seattle

6. You've Got Mail

7. When Harry Met Sally

8. While You Were Sleeping

9. How to Loose a Guy in 10 Days

10. Notting Hill

Oh my goodness I could go on and on, how have I missed out Four Weddings and a Funeral? Or Kate and Leopold? Or Serendipity? Or Sabrina? Or My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Or Bridget Jones Diary? Or Across the Universe? Or Dirty Dancing?

Well, at least I put them down at some point! Now I'm off to go and watch some movies!

Monday, 13 February 2017

Blog Tour: Book Spotlight City of Drowned Souls by Chris Lloyd

I am very lucky to be part of another exciting blog tour today. Today I want to tell you about an exciting new crime title from Chris Lloyd. Chris Lloyd has written the Elisenda Domènech series, featuring a police officer with the newly-devolved Catalan police force in the beautiful city of Girona and the third book came out just last Monday. Here's a bit of information about each book in the series, which all sound totally gripping. Amazon and Goodreads links are under each one and if you scroll down further you'll find some more information about the author. I don't know about you-but I'm ready to start reading!

Don't forget to stop by the other blogs on the tour for awesome content and reviews of the books!

An intense and brilliantly realised crime thriller set in the myth-soaked streets of Girona

A killer is targeting hate figures in the Catalan city of Girona – a loan shark, a corrupt priest, four thugs who have blighted the streets of the old quarter – leaving clues about his next victim through mysterious effigies left hung on a statue. Each corpse is posed in a way whose meaning no one can fathom. Which is precisely the point the murderer is trying to make.

Elisenda Domènech, the solitary and haunted head of the city’s newly-formed Serious Crime Unit, is determined to do all she can to stop the attacks. She believes the attacker is drawing on the city’s legends to choose his targets, but her colleagues aren’t convinced and her investigation is blocked at every turn.

Battling against the increasing sympathy towards the killer displayed by the press, the public and even some of the police, she finds herself forced to question her own values. But when the attacks start to include less deserving victims, the pressure is suddenly on Elisenda to stop him. The question is: how?

Be careful what you dig up… 

Still recovering from the tragedy that hit her team, Elisenda takes on a new case. Except it’s not new. On an archaeological dig by the coast a body is uncovered, seemingly executed with a spike thrust through the base of the skull – an ancient tribal ritual. It soon becomes clear that this body is neither ancient nor modern, but a mysterious corpse from the 1980s.

Assigned to the case along with her team, Elisenda soon uncovers a complex world of star archaeologists, jealousy and missing persons. They find a dark trade in illicit antiquities, riddled with vicious professional rivalries. And even though she’s staying close to the crime scene, Elisenda is also never far from enemies of her own within the police force.

Just as the case seems to become clear it is blown wide-open by another horrific murder. Elisenda must fight her personal demons and office politics, whilst continuing to uncover plots and hatreds that were long buried. How far will she go to solve the crime? Is her place in the force secure? And can she rebuild her life?

The atmospheric second crime thriller featuring Catalan detective Elisenda Domènech, for readers of Val McDermid and Ann Cleeves

When a child disappears, the clock starts ticking
Detective Elisenda Domènech has had a tough few years. The loss of her daughter and a team member; the constant battles against colleagues and judges; the harrowing murder investigations… But it’s about to get much worse.

When the son of a controversial local politician goes missing at election time, Elisenda is put on the case. They simply must solve it. Only the team also have to deal with a spate of horrifically violent break-ins. People are being brutalised in their own homes and the public demands answers.

Could there be a connection? Why is nobody giving a straight answer? And where is Elisenda’s key informant, apparently vanished off the face of the earth? With the body count threatening to increase and her place in the force on the line, the waters are rising…

Be careful not to drown.

The stunning new instalment of the gripping Elisenda Domènech crime thrillers for readers of Ian Rankin, Henning Mankell and Andrea Camilleri.

Chris was born in an ambulance racing through a town he’s only returned to once and that’s probably what did it. Soon after that, when he was about two months old, he moved with his family to West Africa, which pretty much sealed his expectation that life was one big exotic setting. He later studied Spanish and French at university, and straight after graduating, he hopped on a bus from Cardiff to Catalonia where he stayed for the next twenty-four years, falling in love with the people, the country, the language and Barcelona Football Club, probably in that order. Besides Catalonia, he’s also lived in Grenoble, the Basque Country and Madrid, teaching English, travel writing for Rough Guides and translating. He now lives in South Wales, where he works as a writer and a Catalan and Spanish translator, returning to Catalonia as often as he can.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Letterbox Love #3

Welcome to Letterbox Love, this is a UK meme, hosted by the lovely Lynsey at Narratively Speaking and inspired by The Story Siren's In My Mailbox. This post is a means by which to highlight the books we get in the post and beyond, and especially to bring attention to those books which may be sat on our shelves for a little while yet that we love all the same.

I've been a very lucky blogger this week because I received a massive box of books from the lovely people at Books and the City. I was so excited that this came to me all the way over the Atlantic and I am so excited about every single book that is inside! I posted a video of the unboxing, which you can see above but here are all the books with the links and release dates, just click on the picture to go to the buy/pre-order page!

A Song for Tomorrow by Alice Peterson-out now 


American Housewife by Helen Ellis-out now

American housewife 9781471153808 hr

How Not to Fall In Love Actually by Catherine Bennetto-out now!

How not to fall in love actually 9781471160011 hr

The Woman at Number 24 by Juliet Ashton-out 20th April 

woman at number 24

This Love by Dani Atkins-out 23rd March


The Queen of Wishful Thinking by Milly Johnson-out 4th May

The queen of wishful thinking 9781471163791 hr

The Last Piece of My Heart by Paige Toon-out 18th May

Last Piece 04a

Orange Blossom Days-out 9th March


Samples of Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughn which is out in January next year and Betrayal by Kate Furnival which is out in November.

These were all books that were given to bloggers at the Spring blogger event, which I wasn't able to attend. But there is a brilliant write up of it over on  Thank you so much to Simon and Schuster and the Books and the City team for sending me such a lovely lot of books!

I was also sent a copy of Greatest Hits by Laura Barnett which is out on 15th June, thank you to Orion for sending me this one!

On Netgalley I was approved for 2 very exciting books...

Noteworthy by Riley Redgate which is released on 2nd May 

Noteworthy by [Redgate, Riley]

And The Summer of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman which is out on 29th June

The Summer of Impossible Things by [Coleman, Rowan]

And finally, library books I have checked out this week:

As I Descended by [Talley, Robin]

As always, release dates are UK dates. Do let me know if you have read any of these and where I should be starting.

You can always click the link on the right to visit my Goodreads page to see what I have been reading lately.

Alternatively I am Fabulous_book_fiend on Instagram and @shoefiend1984 on Twitter where I update what I am currently reading!

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Romance on the Road Campaign!

You know I am a big fan of libraries, always have been, and I get particularly excited when I see a mobile library out of the road, full of books, just ask my husband! And so I am so excited to be bringing news of Mills and Boon Latest campaign, in partnership with The Reading Agency, working with mobile libraries all around the UK!

With reports this week that 10% of people don’t have a book in their house, what better time to spread the love of reading and celebrate the work of mobile libraries that make reading accessible to all.
Running from 6th to 20th February, across more than 70 mobile libraries, the #RomanceOnTheRoad campaign celebrates the mobile libraries that make the joys of reading available to those unable to reach a library.
Mobile libraries participating in the Valentine’s campaign will create eye-catching Mills & Boon displays, which will be shared on social media using the hashtag #RomanceOnTheRoad, with the most creative winning books and chocolate hampers. Five mobile libraries have been specially selected to be the Fabulous Five –decked out with #RomanceOnTheRoad themed vehicle stickers, a sash for their driver and exclusive Valentine parcels for their valued readers.
Mills & Boon sells more than 200 million novels a year around the globe, but its success is rooted in the mobile library where Charles Boon worked before co-founding Mills & Boon in 1908. Working with the mobile library, Boon learnt what his market wanted and developed a brand that was not only awarded special status in WW2 for its morale boosting benefits, but has continued to be loved the world over today. From the start Mills & Boon recognised the cultural importance of libraries and are delighted to demonstrate their support, extending the success of last year’s #LoveAtTheLibrary campaign to deliver the love of reading to everyone, particularly those who don’t have access to a static library.
The campaign features four books from the most popular Mills & Boon genres to offer something for everyone – from passions of the past to romance in intoxicating locations – and to deliver love right to their door in time for Valentine’s Day. Books featured include Vows They Can't Escape by Heidi Rice, Miss Bradshaw’s Bought Betrothal by Virginia Heath, A Forever Family for the Army Doc by Meredith Webber and Winning the Nanny’s Heart by Shirley Jump.

Lisa Milton, Executive Publisher at Mills & Boon says: “We’re really excited to be working with The Reading Agency once again, particularly on this campaign to recognise and reward the work of mobile libraries. Decades ago, Mills & Boon used to advertise libraries in their end pages so it’s fantastic to be part of a modern and interactive way to continue spreading the word about the great work libraries do. Growing up I visited my mobile library every week on Friday after school, even now I can remember climbing up the steep steps into the van, the joy I felt when the librarian handed me a book I’d ordered, that unique sound of the book stamp as the book became yours. In the mobile library, I found romance, and I will always cherish that gift.”

Karen Brodie, Head of Adult Reading and Publisher Relations at The Reading Agency, comments further: “A partnership like this with Mills & Boon and public libraries is so important to help us engage more people in reading. Reading for pleasure has enormous benefits for our wellbeing and, after the success of last year’s #LoveAtTheLibrary campaign with Mills & Boon, we’re very excited to go on the road with mobile libraries this year to reach even more people, and inspire a love of reading.”

About Mills & Boon:
Mills & Boon is the UK’s leading publisher of romantic fiction of all types, including single titles as well as series. Established in 1908, Mills & Boon continues to deliver compelling, absorbing and uplifting stories of love in all its many guises, from contemporary romance and historical drama to Rom-Com and erotica, whisking readers away to worlds full of passion and excitement. Published in 26 languages across 109 countries and with more than 1,300 authors, a Mills & Boon book is sold globally every four seconds. Mills & Boon has pioneered opportunities in digital publishing, and was one of the first publishers to embrace ebooks, offering over 17,000 backlist titles and all of its front list in digital, as well as many digital exclusives. Mills & Boon is a division of HarperCollins UK. Find us online at us on Twitter @millsandboon

About HarperCollins Publishers:
HarperCollins UK is a division of HarperCollins Publishers, the second largest consumer book publisher in the world, with operations in 18 countries. With nearly two hundred years of history and more than 65 unique imprints around the world, HarperCollins publishes approximately 10,000 new books every year, in over 30 languages, and has a print and digital catalogue of more than 200,000 titles. Writing across dozens of genres, HarperCollins authors include winners of the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Newbery and Caldecott Medals and the Man Booker Prize.HarperCollins UK has offices in London, Glasgow and Honley, and can be found online at 
The Reading Agency RGBAbout The Reading Agency:
The Reading Agency’s partnership programme brings publishers and literature prize coordinators into a closer relationship with libraries across the country to support delivery of author events, promotions and reading resources directly to readers.
The Reading Agency is the leading charity inspiring people of all ages and all backgrounds to read for pleasure and empowerment. Working with our partners, our aim is to make reading accessible to everyone. The Reading Agency is funded by the Arts Council.