A quick Bank Holiday treat y’all!

Wahooooo, it’s Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK which means celebrations all round. Unless you think about this being the last one before Christmas….that’s quite a depressing thought given that it’s still a few months away! Anyway, I digress. I’m just popping on here today to share my exciting treat for you all but you have to be quick with this one because before you know it, it will be gone in the blink of a Tuesday morning, never to be seen again. Are you ready?

PROMO FREE

YES! Dear Darling is FREE this weekend! If you want to get your grubby little paws on a copy of this hit summer read then what are you waiting for? Click the link below and have at it 😉

Amazon UK: http://ow.ly/2bui5u
Amazon US: http://ow.ly/2bui5z

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I hope you’re all having a great weekend with lots of reading!

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I HAVE PAPERBACKS!!

Something very exciting happened recently and as I sit typing this post, I’m sat staring at the B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L paperback copies of both Dear Darling and Home for The Holidays!

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There’s something so special about having your work in paperback. It allows you to stroke, smell, and basically violate your book ha it will never get old. Of course, eBooks still have their definite advantages aside from the obvious weight side of things, they can work out a lot cheaper than paperbacks but I don’t think that I’ll ever stop buying paperbacks – much to my husbands dismay.

I want to thank everyone that has bought Dear Darling too, it means that absolute world that you’d buy and read my work and I still have to pinch myself at times. If you have read it, I would love it if you could pop over to Amazon and leave a review. It doesn’t have to be lengthy, just a quick little bit of feedback makes all the difference to an author. That’s another thing I’ve realised since becoming an author, reviews are like the tips for the author world haha.

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Amazon UK: http://ow.ly/2bui5u
Amazon US: http://ow.ly/2bui5z

I hope you’ve all had a fabulous week and are ready for a well-earned rest this weekend. If you’re reading something that you’re enjoying, shout about it in the comments below. Also, what’s your preference? Are you still a paperback lover like me or are you an eBook lover through and through?

Until next time you lovely lot *mwah*

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The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan by Whitney Dineen – My Review

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What’s it all about:

Thirty-four year old, Mimi Finnegan is the third of four daughters and in her eyes, by far, the most unremarkable. She has no singular accomplishment that can stand up to any of her sisters. And if that isn’t enough, she is the only single sibling in her family.

Mimi’s sisters decide that it’s time she gets serious about husband hunting, so they begin a campaign to find Mr. Right for her. Considering her most recent dating encounters include a night club owner who stuffs bratwurst in his pants and a WASPy trust fund baby, living happily under his mother’s thumb, Mimi is more than ready to meet THE ONE. Enter celebrated British novelist Elliot Fielding.

Sexual tension and anger heat up between the duo and it isn’t until Mimi discovers that Elliot is almost engaged to another that she realizes she is head-over-heels in love with him.

The journey will make you laugh, cry and want to pull your hair out from frustration! Mimi eventually learns that she is quite remarkable in her own right and never needed to worry that she lived in her sister’s shadows.

The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan is the perfect laugh-out-loud, feel good book for any woman who has ever felt that she wasn’t good enough.

Review

This is the first book that I have read by Whitney Dineen and after finishing Mimi (as I’ve so affectionately come to nickname her) I’ve decided that I need more. More of Mimi and more by Whitney.

In The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan, we follow loveable Mimi, who has just had the news broken to her, rather callously, that she has a bunion. This news goes down like a lead balloon and from the moment that she leaves the doctor’s office in her upset state and heads straight to a drive-thru for a burger, I knew I was going to love her. The fact she names her bunion Edith tickled me too. Edith actually came to life for me in this book and became a character in herself.

Mimi is at a pretty low place when we meet her. She feels she’s the black sheep of her family, that she’s not perfect aesthetically or academically and seeks comfort in food so the fun really starts at her Weight Watchers meeting where she meets Kevin, an old school friend who is in the same boat at the moment. His wife has left him (pregnant to another  man, if you please!) and he has piled on weight. Together, they reform a solid friendship and I loved the way they had each others backs. When they felt like falling off the wagon, they were each others rocks, when Mimi needed someone to be a true guy friend and sought advice on how to make another man feel a twinge of jealousy, Kevin was there for her. Although that scenario quickly became a comical nightmare for Mimi when the pair had to think fast after being caught fake-kissing to make HIS ex jealous by the object of Mimi’s affections. Kevin thus became her ‘gay’ bff.

Now, let me tell you all about the hot piece of Brit referred to above. Elliot Fielding. Elliot. Fielding. British bestselling author and well-spoken gentleman who has a sexy side that you wouldn’t necessarily expect with his cool persona but hello sailor. When his jealous side did come out, I loved it! After an epic fail of an introduction and a few disaster encounters later, it becomes clear that these two are meant for each other. I wanted nothing more than to bang their heads together at one point, the sparks were there, but Elliot just cannot seem to make that move. Of course, his ‘complicated’ relationship with fellow Brit doesn’t help matters.

Mimi comes to a point though where she realises she can’t hang around for Elliot to make his mind up. She deserves better than being treat like he does. Enter Richard Bingham, Mimi’s very own Mr Big when she heads out to New York City for work. I found it hard not to fall for him a little too. He offers her his heart and his everything, all Mimi has to do is say the word; but will she? Elliot or Richard. Elliot or Richard. It’s tough choice for her and I wasn’t sure exactly what would happen.

This book was full of action. Fast paced with laugh out loud moments, beautiful friendships and two brilliant book boyfriends to have a drool over. If you like your romance with a side of comedy, this is definitely the book for you and is the perfect beach read.

5 STARS

Buy the book on Amazon UK / US

Visit Whitney’s website

Find Whitney on Twitter / Facebook

About Whitney

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While attending the University of Illinois in Chicago, Whitney Dineen was discovered by a local modeling agent and began an unexpected career as a plus-size Ford model. She modeled in New York City before moving to Los Angeles with her husband.

When she wasn’t modeling, she was in the kitchen, baking delights to share with friends. Soon, her friends began asking her to send baskets of her wonderful candies and cookies to business associates, agents and production studios. Word spread like wildfire, and the rest, as they say, is history. Whitney’s sensational creations are still in great demand by her loyal celebrity clientele.

During “The Hollywood Years,” Whitney was bitten by the writing bug and started creating characters that are inspired by strong women with a great sense of humor.

In addition to her love of chick-lit, Whitney has also written a series of adventure books for middle readers The first of which,Wilhelmina and the Willamette Wig Factory, is nearing completion.

Whitney and her husband, Jimmy, have recently relocated to the beautiful Pacific Northwest to raise their children, chickens and organic vegetables.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty – My Review

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What’s it all about:

Single mum Jane has just moved to town. She’s got her little boy in tow – plus the secret she’s been carrying for five years.

On the first day of the school run she meets Madeline – a force to be reckoned with, who remembers everything and forgives no one – and Celeste, the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare, but is inexplicably ill at ease. They both take Jane under their wing – while careful to keep their own secrets under wraps.

But a minor incident involving the children of all three women rapidly escalates: playground whispers become spiteful rumours until no one can tell the truth from the lies.

Which is when the secrets come out – and now someone is going to pay with their life…

I bought this book some time ago after perusing (read, spending HOURS) looking at the wonderful Reese Witherspoon’s Instagram account – which is a beauty, you really should all go check her out. Anyway, I digress. SO, Reese Witherspoon had a photograph of Big Little Lies on her Instagram along with a few other books, and after being drawn to the cover, I decided that next time I was in Tescos, I’d  buy it. Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman are also making the book into a TV series which I will most definitely be watching after reading the book.

Review

Big Little Lies focuses on the lives of 3 women in Australia whose children are all starting kindergarten at the same time. There is the fiercely loyal and slightly overdramatic Madeline, the beautiful but seemingly vacant Celeste, and the new mum to the area, Jane. The story takes place over the course of 6 months in the build up to trivia night, where we discover that something quite traumatic and sinister has happened. A parent has been murdered.

I did worry at first that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the many names that were thrown at me when the story began but of course, once you get past the first section which is really a police interview with fellow kindergarten parents and teachers, you get into the flow of the story and begin to fall for both the characters’ charms and flaws.

At orientation day for the children, the daughter of an obnoxious and career driven mother, Renata, is attacked by a fellow child. The child appears to have attempted to strangle the young girl and when the son of Jane has the finger pointed at him by the victim, all hell breaks loose. Madeline is fiercely loyal to Jane, who I have to point out she just met that day, but nonetheless, she defends Jane and young Ziggy (yes, really) to the point where playground war is all but declared. Team Madeline, or Team Renata.

The story focuses on Madeline, Celeste and Jane each in turn which I find really helps you get to know the characters even better.

Jane is a single mum at  24 to 5 year old Ziggy, and doesn’t know anyone in the area. She keeps herself to herself and tries her best to defend and protect her child as more and more outrageous accusations are thrown their way. Ziggy is declared a bully and when a petition is passed around the playground to have him kicked out, your heart really does go out to poor Jane. But in gradual trickles, we see how Jane can’t help but wonder whether her son could indeed be a bully. The worry, the concern, the panic that her precious boy could be what those people are saying weighs heavily on her mind until finally, she confides in Madeline that Ziggy is in fact, the product of a rape and Jane worries whether Ziggy could have inherited some of his father’s uglier traits. Madeline is obviously outraged on Jane’s behalf but sworn to secrecy.

Madeline is also going through her own personal hell. Her youngest daughter is starting kindergarten the same day as Ziggy….and her ex-husband’s daughter! To have your ex and his new wife living so close and their child in the same class must have been soul destroying. Although Madeline has moved on and has married again, you can’t help but feel the hurt she still feels and the anger towards her ex who abandoned Madeline when their eldest daughter, his daughter, was just a baby. Of course, to make matters worse, the eldest daughter much prefers spending time with her dad and step-mum and announces one day that she’s moving in with them. I did love Madeline, even if she sometimes seemed to get just the slightest bit of pleasure at having someone else’s problems being a welcomed distraction for her own. She was human, she was flawed, but she also knew it. She had a huge heart and quick wit and between Madeline and Celeste, you just knew that Jane was in safe hands.

Now, Celeste. When we’re first introduced to Celeste, you get a woman who is married to an obscenely rich man, Perry, who adores her and their twin boys (who are also starting kindergarten) and showers them all with gifts every time he returns from a business trip. We learn that Perry can do no wrong, not only is he a devoted family man with a big fat bank account, he is also extraordinarily generous and a master at gift buying. When the family go to Canada at Christmas and we’re reading about Celeste’s thoughts, I almost gasped aloud when on Christmas Day, she looks at her husband and thinks about how there was really no need to leave him just yet, not until their boys finished high school…. ‘On the day they finished their last exams. ‘Put down your pens,’ the exam supervisors would say. That’s when Celeste would put down her marriage.’ But of course, no marriage is perfect, and we eventually learn just how toxic her life really is.

It’s so incredibly hard for me not to shout out the hows and the whys I loved this book without revealing some spoilers. So, sooooo hard. Liane is truly a wordsmith that pulls you in and keeps you in her grasp until she’s ready to let you go, ready to let you fall into the world her characters are living in and just when you think you understand….WHAM. You don’t. You really, really don’t. As you creep steadily around each corner, you wonder what curveball she will hit you with next.

I don’t even have enough stars to give this book haha but let me tell you something dear readers, Liane Moriarty has written 4 other books and at some point tonight, I will be buying those bad boys! All of them. Which probably means that yet again, the cleaning will wait and the meals will be….well, salad! I urge you all to put Big Little Lies on your TBR list or regret it forever.

Big Little Lies is a big ol’

5 STARS

Buy the book on Amazon UK / US

Until next time book lovers 😉

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From Italy With Love by Jules Wake – My Review

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What’s it all about

‘To my niece I leave the Ferrari GT250… On the proviso that she takes it across Europe to Maranello within the next three weeks. Only on successful completion of the journey to a prescribed route, will the car be hers…’

Home-loving Laurie thinks she’s happy – she has a safe, reliable boyfriend and working in her local library is what she thought she always wanted. That is until she inherits a vintage Ferrari from her eccentric Uncle Miles and the conditions of the inheritance are far from simple. To keep the car Laurie will have to drive across Europe with the gorgeous but unreliable Cameron Matthews as her guide… and Cam’s motives for helping are not all that altruistic.

Cam isn’t particularly thrilled about escorting his late pal Miles’ dull mouse of a niece on this wild goose chase but all he has to do is get Laurie safely to Italy and he’s sure the Ferrari is his.

But Uncle Miles had a few tricks up his sleeve and the route he’s planned takes Cam and Laurie on a road trip they’ll never forget. From sampling the delights of the Loire Valley to the breathtaking beauty of Lake Garda, this is one journey that has more twists and turns than either of them could ever have imagined…

Review

Book provided by Harper Impulse via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

This is the first book I have read by Jules and it certainly won’t be my last.

The book begins with a funeral. Not the best way to start a chick lit book I hear you say, but really, it’s not depressing in the slightest. In fact, this is where we are introduced to the colourful Uncle Miles, the instigator of the journey that Laurie, our leading lady, must take if she wants to inherit one of his most prized cars when he was alive.

Laurie, Laurie, Laurie. Sweet, quiet, unconfrontational, Laurie. I did love her but I have to say, in parts I found myself wanting to grab her and shake her for putting up with her ridiculous boyfriend/fiance, Robert. From the get-go, we are given an insight into their relationship and how they work. Laurie works in a library and is happily bobbing along through life with no excitement, not trying to achieve any goals and being held back by Robert. Robert is a weasel. A completely artificial, mean spirited and quite frankly, stingy, man. Jules has done a wonderful job of creating a character that you want to scream at. When he finds out just how wealthy Uncle Miles was, suddenly he wants to get married and not only that, he wants  it to be a rushed job down at the registry office! Nuh-uh.

At the funeral, we are introduced to Cam, a close friend of Uncle Miles and fellow car enthusiast. Prior to the reading of the will, Cam is confident he will get the Ferrari that Miles promised him. Little does he know, lovably eccentric Uncle Miles had other plans. When Laurie and Cam attend the reading of the will, they discover that Laurie has in fact been left the Ferrari BUT only if she takes the car on a road trip through France and into Italy, with Cam alongside her. Should she not complete this task, the car will be sold. Suddenly determined to inject some adventure into her life, Laurie sets off on the adventure of her life with Cam in the driving seat and Robert left at home sulking.

When the pair hit the road, Cam’s sole focus is to get Laurie to sell the car. He was promised that car by sneaky Uncle Miles and attempts to pull many tricks on Laurie to convince her that the car is either falling to bits, is unreliable, too expensive to run or is making knocks and noises when it shouldn’t; but Laurie isn’t phased one bit. Cam’s tricks continue throughout the journey until one day after some dodgy seafood, Laurie has to take control and nurse him back to health. She manages to navigate them into Paris and gets Cam help. For me, I think this was the turning point in their relationship. Cam could always see that she wasn’t a high maintenance gold-digger, the type of highly groomed women he is used to being around and doesn’t particularly like, and the pair get closer and begin open up to each other. We find out why Laurie has been so nervous to go on the journey, we find out about her family and why she never talks about her mother and we finally see Laurie come into her own, morphing from a meek, mild-mannered caterpillar into a gloriously bright butterfly.

I adored this story from cover to cover. The fact that we get to travel through France and to Italy was the main reason I was drawn to the story. I’m a sucker for a book that takes me on an adventure through beautiful countries and if a book can pull me and keep me hooked with a storyline about characters that have some clear flaws but manage to see the light, and a romance that develops along the way, then I am one happy little camper. I felt like I took this journey with them thanks to the descriptions that Jules gives us and could imagine myself wandering through Paris or getting lost in a small French town and grabbing a coffee in a quaint streetside cafe.

From Italy With Love had me grinning from ear to ear throughout most of it, especially as the road trip progresses and there are laugh out loud moments so I would urge anyone with a love of romance and travel to grab this book and read it immediately. That’s a direct order 😉

As you’ve probably all guessed by now, this is a DEFINITE high marker from me and I look forward to more great offerings from this author.

4 STARS

Buy it now from Amazon UK / US

Follow Jules on Twitter

Until next time you lovely lot *mwah*

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The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert – My Review

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What it’s all about:

YOU’VE GOT MAIL meets HOW TO EAT A CUPCAKE in this delightful novel about a talented chef and the food critic who brings down her restaurant—whose chance meeting turns into a delectable romance of mistaken identities.

In downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Lou works tirelessly to build her beloved yet struggling French restaurant, Luella’s, into a success. She cheerfully balances her demanding business and even more demanding fiancé…until the morning she discovers him in the buff—with an intern.

Witty yet gruff British transplant Al is keeping himself employed and entertained by writing scathing reviews of local restaurants in the Milwaukee newspaper under a pseudonym. When an anonymous tip sends him to Luella’s, little does he know he’s arrived on the worst day of the chef’s life. The review practically writes itself: underdone fish, scorched sauce, distracted service—he unleashes his worst.

The day that Al’s mean-spirited review of Luella’s runs, the two cross paths in a pub: Lou drowning her sorrows, and Al celebrating his latest publication. As they chat, Al playfully challenges Lou to show him the best of Milwaukee and she’s game—but only if they never discuss work, which Al readily agrees to. As they explore the city’s local delicacies and their mutual attraction, Lou’s restaurant faces closure, while Al’s column gains popularity. It’s only a matter of time before the two fall in love…but when the truth comes out, can Lou overlook the past to chase her future?

Set in the lovely, quirky heart of Wisconsin, THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE is a charming love story of misunderstandings, mistaken identity, and the power of food to bring two people together.

Review

Book provided by Gallery Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

When I first spotted this book on Netgalley, I was so drawn to the cover that I just HAD to read it. The pull was too great to pass up and I hoped and prayed that I would have the privilege of being sent this….and thankfully, I was.

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake is about the delightful Elizabeth – known as Lou to everyone she meets – who owns a French restaurant named Luella, after her grandmother. We meet her at a point where she is still with her extremely unpleasant fiance just before his birthday and he continues to play a role throughout the book. I won’t lie, I was thrilled that his true colours were revealed resulting in poor Lou breaking up with him after she finds him with another woman on his birthday. She had even made him cake too! What a giant douche. He does, in fact, play quite a key role in the book too, but I refuse to give any spoilers.

On alternate chapters, we get to know Al. Al Waters is an undercover food critic who has moved to Milwaukee to do his bit, review a few restaurants and get the hell out of there. He makes no secret of the fact he is not a fan and clearly wants to be anywhere but Milwaukee. However, when his path crosses with Lou’s in a bar just after she has one of the worst weeks of her life, he wonders whether the city has a bit more to offer than he originally thought.

I really enjoyed watching the two become close, Lou’s vibrant personality shone through and her warm, positive attitude made her a delight to read about and you really do want to see her succeed. She was so full of life and such a kind hearted, good natured person that I was quite sad she wasn’t real; she is someone I would love as a friend! I sound quite gushy now but I can’t say enough great things about her.

As Lou and Al grew closer though, I inwardly cringed and winced every time a passing comment was made about their jobs, but as both were adamant that they wouldn’t discuss work when they were together, the timebomb kept on ticking. The day Al found out who Lou was, my heart literally ached for him. Over the course of the year, as he has grown to know and enjoy Lou’s company, he has become a better person. He no longer writes so scathingly about the restaurants he visits, his appreciation for Milwaukee has grown as Lou rose to the challenge of showing him the best of her fair town, and you just know that the moment she finds out he was the reason that she had to give up on the dream she has fought so hard for, the dream that has been destroyed by him and him alone, that her world will unravel at a great speed. It doesn’t matter how hard he tries to protect her from the truth, even resorting to having his newspaper print a story about the death of his alias, he cannot escape what he has done.

Although the story focuses on these wonderful and very realistic characters, it also has a brilliant collection of secondary characters that can’t help but smile at when they come onto the page. The way each person is written made The Coincidence of Coconut Cake such a great read that I read it in 2 sittings; on the way to a concert, and then on the return journey. Once I started the book, I didn’t want to put it down. Something about it just made you feel like you were wrapped in a giant blanket, snuggled up in a chair with a hot beverage getting completely lost in their world. It also made me want to visit Milwaukee!

If you’re a fan of a good old-fashioned romance that has you holding your breath in parts, makes you melt in others, has you salivating at the delicious food and even contains a bonus recipe for the coconut cake in question (which I actually made and it was DIVINE!) then The Coincidence of Coconut Cake is definitely for you.

5 STARS

Buy it now from Amazon UK / US

Follow Amy on Twitter

Visit Amy’s website

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