Lila’s Choice by Laura Brown

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Here’s the books official description:

Never let your friends get involved in your personal life.

Lila and Nate learn this the hard way. They are the star-crossed lovers of Glendale High. For three years the students have waited for the two to get together. They begged Nate to put his past relationship behind him, and cringed when Lila started dating Bryce. Just your typical teenage romance, except they’re the teachers.

Lila, a guidance counselor with a sweet demeanor, has an answer for every problem, every problem but her own. A visit from childhood friend Bryce thrusts her calm world into turmoil, as emotions buried deep inside are dragged to the surface. He soon realizes what only a friend can notice and a lover regret, that Lila, unbeknownst to herself, is in love with Nate. 

Nate has seen better days. He is a history teacher stuck living in the past. Depression has kept his love for Lila unspoken, his ego frail after being cheated on.

Now Lila and Nate’s coworkers must unleash a scheme and uncover Lila’s true feelings. In a school this nosey what better way to get fast results than to involve the student population? The students are all too eager to get involved. 

If everything goes as planned Lila will have to choose between two men. If her friends fail they might destroy these three and ruin their friendship. No wonder the scheme is called Project Torture.

Review

I’m currently part of an amazing group of women on Facebook who write chicklit and the lovely Laura is one of these women.

Her novel, Lila’s Choice, is her debut novel and I enjoyed every second of it. There are some great characters in it, all of them down to earth and completely relatable.

The book really centres around Lila, a school guidance counsellor who lives with her colleague and friend Ette.

Early on in the book we learn that Lila has one of her oldest friends, Bryce, coming to town for a spell and that she has suddenly realised she has feelings for him. Feelings that are more than the ‘just friends’ feelings that she thinks she should be having. She’s certain that these feelings are wrong and that she shouldn’t act on them. Ette however, disagrees completely.

We soon learn that the pair are a group of four friends who all work together at Glendale High. Nate and Kent complete the group and I have to say, I loved the friendships they all have. Kent and Ette are brilliant at lightening the moods of Lila and Nate, who incidentally has a huge crush on Lila.

Poor Nate is currently going though a divorce after being separated for 3 years but can’t seem to take that final step, and when he learns of Lila’s new relationship with Bryce, he all but gives up on the idea of anything more than friendship with her – especially when Bryce pops the question in front of the group and Lila says yes, and then drops the bomb that she’ll be leaving with Bryce to move to Florida at the end of the school year.

About halfway through the book, Ette learns of Nate’s affections for Lila from Kent and after watching her carefully, she realises that Lila is not only having doubts about the move to Florida, but she’s having doubts about Bryce. So Kent and Ette decide team up with some of their students – who are also abundantly aware of the feelings Nate has for Lila – to try and get Lila to see what everyone else can, that they are both very much in love with each other.

There are some very comical moments in this book, but most of all I found it a sweet and genuinely heartwarming read about friendships and going after your true love. There are many twists and turns, and in parts I felt really sorry for both Lila and Nate, but as with any love story, the path to true love doesn’t always run smoothly.

I also have to say that Glendale High has a Deaf Program in the book and reading about it really made me want to learn sign language! This really made the book stand out from anything else I’ve read and I look forward to reading more.

4 STARS

Get the book here:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

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How to Get a (Love) Life by Rosie Blake

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Here’s the official description:

Some people book last-minute holidays, walk barefoot in the grass or party on a week night. Not Nicola Brown. Nicola is the kind of girl who double-locks the front door, leaves the plastic covering on new furniture, sticks to a super-strict diet and definitely, absolutely Does Not Date.

Her colleague Caroline – loopy, warm and exasperated by her, knows that Nicola’s reluctance to lose control means she’s living only half a life. And so she lays down the gauntlet: Nicola must cast aside her hang ups and go on as many dates as it takes to find true love in time for Valentine’s Day.

The pick of local men is, quite frankly, a bit rubbish. And there are only three months until February 14th. Surely it’s an impossible task? But, as Nicola is about to find out on her dodgy dates, letting go isn’t quite as scary as she imagined. In fact, it’s rather a lot of fun…

 Review

After seeing all of the rave reviews and people saying how funny it was on Twitter, I couldn’t NOT one click this beauty!

Nicola Brown is a single 29 year old creature of habit, and that’s putting it mildly. She has serious OCD, from the strict times she has her food on a specific day of the week to her super organised office space. Nothing she does is ever spontaneous and her life is meticulously planned – but she likes it that way….doesn’t she?

It’s Nicola’s colleague, Caroline, that finally get’s Nicola to relax little by little by setting her a challenge: find true love by Valentines Day.

Caroline is hilarious. I loved her care free attitude and free spirit, if it wasn’t for her I don’t think Nicola would have ever taken the plunge and realised how little of her life she was actually living.

Poor Nicola has to suffer her fair share of disastrous dates though and there are some genuine laugh out loud moments. My ultimate favourite was the kayaking date. I. LOVED. It.

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Between Caroline and her brother Mark, Nicola finally let’s her hair down and becomes the happy person that she deserves to be which results in her potentially finding love in the most unexpected of places 😉

Once Nicola finally begins to relax, the book skips along nicely and I for one really fell for all of the characters at that point.

4 STARS

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I’ll Be There For You by Kerry Barrett

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When good witchcraft goes bad…

Harry (short for Harmony) McLeod never thought motherhood would be for her. But now that she and wife Louise have adopted twins Finlay and Fiona, she can’t imagine life without her gorgeous little family. But just as the toddlers start to discover their own witching abilities – quite handy when they want to summon toys with just a wiggle of their fingers! – Harry’s own powers seem to have vanished.

With her abilities gone and Louise working all hours, Harry’s perfect world is starting to unravel. She knows she needs to rediscover her happiness to get her powers back, but with local charmer (and witch) Richard trying to steal her spa business from under her feet, how can she fight back?

Review
Book provided by the wonderful Carina UK via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

When first saw the cover for I’ll Be There For You, I knew I had to request it! One of the wonderful things about Carina is there ability to draw you in with their covers and I do love them for that.

This is the first book I’ve read in the Could It Be Magic series, and indeed the first (but definitely not that last) by Kerry Barrett. I’ll Be There For You is book 4 but I didn’t feel like I’d missed out by not having read the other 3 first, there are no gaps, no questions, it all just flows perfectly well and you feel as though you’ve known the characters years.

The story follows Harry (Harmony) as she tries to come to terms with the fact that since she and her wife adopted their gorgeous twins, her magic seems to have gone poof! Not that she’s admitted is to anyone yet, not in the real world anyway.

As her wife takes on a new undercover job at work, Harry finds herself struggling to cope and tries to find the answers to all of her problems online – enter, Mildred Hubble. Mildred finally convinces Harry to confide in her family and slowly but surely, with the support of her mother, cousin and wife, she starts to come to terms with being temporarily without magic. And as if having magical babies when your powers don’t work isn’t enough, there’s a fellow witchy businessman sniffing around her business, wanting to either buy her out or destroy her and THEN take over, depending in how Harry deals with his proposal.

I absolutely loved this book and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to anyone who loves getting lost in a tale of close knit family and magical fun. I’ve always been a fan of stories about witches and magic, so I felt right at home with I’ll Be There For You. Kerry has managed to create characters that seemed so real that I felt a bit lost once I got to the end. Through Harry’s ups and downs, you really root for her and want her to beat the bad guy in the end, but nothing is ever that straight forward.

A 100% fun read!

4 STARS

Find Kerry on Twitter: @kerrybean73

Buy the book on Amazon UK

Website: kerrybarrettwriter.wordpress.com

The Gospel According to Drew Barrymore

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Official description:

Friendship is like a shark: it has to keep moving forwards to survive.

Esther and Laura have been best friends since they were seven. Quite a bit has changed since then . . . They’ve swapped school for full-time employment, boyfriends for bugaboos, experimental hair-dye for salon-preened locks – and their friendship has evolved just as much. But they remain close, knitted together by the bonds of time . . .

So when Esther is told that Laura has gone missing, she immediately leaves her husband and small child for San Francisco and begins to trace her friend’s last movements. All she has is an email from Laura: ‘I’m channelling Drew Barrymore, as ever. The Gospel, right?’

In trying to understand why Laura has disappeared, and what on earth Drew Barrymore has to do with it, Esther needs to look back. Back at the secrets woven into their friendship and the truths she’s avoided facing for so long.

Review

I spotted this book in the supermarket a few weeks ago and couldn’t NOT buy it. I mean, firstly can we just talk about that cover? It’s so eye catching and fun that I grabbed it like a crazy lady and read the back. Friendship – check. Drew Barrymore – check. San Francisco – HELLS YES! In the basket it went.

For those of you that aren’t fully aware of the love I have of San Fran, it’s huge. If I could, I would move there tomorrow and live by the bay. I even set my debut novel, The Story of Us, there!

Anyway, I digress. The Gospel According to Drew Barrymore is a wonderful read about 2 best friends, Laura and Esther, with flashbacks to their youth, how they met, what Drew Barrymore means to them and where they’re at now with their lives. For Esther, she’s married with a new baby whereas Laura is living in Napa, working at a vineyard and living the carefree life. Until one day she goes missing. Nobody can reach her, she isn’t responding to Esther’s text messages or phone calls and without flying out to San Francisco, the search for Laura is a lost cause.

Being the best friend that Esther is though, she (begrudgingly to a degree) hops on a plane for 2 nights and 2 nights only to try and find her best friend. To go to her place of work, chat to her colleagues, look at her apartment and try to piece together the puzzle that is Laura.

I loved the flashbacks in this book, the quotes from the Drew Barrymore films were brilliant and how her films slot in so well to the story of Esther and Laura. When you read about the pair growing up, you can relate to what they go through. Through their teenage years you have Laura who looks like a supermodel, gets all the attention from the boys and is one of the ‘cool’ kids that gets invited to all of the parties. Everybody loves Laura, and there are times when Laura pushes Esther away and you feel the pain for her. Esther was never really popular, was nicknamed Fat Fester and was viewed as the tag along, ‘Laura’s friend’.

The mystery behind Laura’s disappearance isn’t revealed until the very end and when it is, it all falls into place. There are twists and turns aplenty in this book, just when you think you have it figured out, you realise that all is not as it seems. Just when you think Esther is being too harsh on Laura, you see a flashback of their youth and realise that at times, neither of them have been angels. Both have acted selfishly, both have kept things from the other, but neither one can let go of their friendship.

I devoured this book in 2 days and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to others sooooooo, The Gospel According to Drew Barrymore gets….

4 STARS

I hope you all enjoy this book as much as I did, it’s the perfect holiday read. It’s the first book I’ve read by Pippa Wright and I have a feeling it won’t be the last!

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Happy Easter!

I hope you’re all eating plenty of chocolate and watching the worst kind of television imaginable over the Easter break….or you know, going for long, healthy walks. That’s totally what I meant to say…….

This week has been fairly uneventful for me, aside from the usual 9-5 office bliss. I did hand a couple of Save the Date cards out for my wedding though to my boss and the staff partner, and now I think I’m going to have all kinds of abuse waiting for me from my colleagues on Tuesday when they find out. The thing is, as much as I would genuinely LOVE to invite everyone I work with, it’s just not feasible, and after consulting Martha Stewart – her website obviously, not the woman herself, although that would be pretty cool so if you’re reading this Martha, call me – she says that it is good etiquette to invite your boss. And I get on with her really well, at least I think I do, it’s possible she’s just being polite but I’m fairly sure she thinks I’m okay.

I also sorted my wedding flowers but that’s all I was prepared to do on the wedding front because after my Wedding Hells post,  I did mean what I said. I’d just had a little too much wedding rammed down my throat.

Last night, I managed to get some reviews written and some more reading done which has been a lot of fun. I’ve even done some more on my next novel which I’m hoping will be released August/September time so watch this space! It makes you feel that bit better about yourself when you’ve had a productive weekend doesn’t it? And it means I have no guilt about sleeping in until 9am yesterday, none at all.

Today was spent at the coast, a total last minute decision and all I can say is, I will definitely sleep tonight! My hair looks a little worse for wear thanks to the sea air but it was worth it. I love that salty smell of the seaside, if someone could bottle it and sell it I’d be one of the first there. I managed to get some nice photos on the way there that I’ll probably share on my Facebook (add me as a friend if you enjoy my ramblings and love to chat!) because it is a lovely drive out to Morecambe, you’re not far from the Lake District so as you can imagine it was very green….lots of sheep too!

Hopefully next week I’ll have something a bit more exciting to tell you but for now, I think I’ve covered everything. Bit crappy really isn’t is when you think about it….maybe I need some adventure in my life! I’ll keep you posted!

Ellen

XOXO

Wedding Hells

So, as some of you may know, I’m getting married next year! I am all kinds of excited about this, my dress is due to arrive in the next couple of months, I’m going to buy my Choos this week and I’ve found a super funny reading for the ceremony – so ya know, all the important stuff is sorted 😉

But the closer it’s getting the more I’m finding myself stressing over the small things, and not in a bridezilla way, more an ‘I can’t breathe and think I’m having a heart attack’ kind of way. Stress is a mother fudger, that’s all I’ll say on that matter. It’s even been taking me away from writing and reading, two things that I absolutely love! I’m determined not to let it beat me though, I am woman hear me roar and all that jazz ha.

The thing I have noticed over the recent months though (okay 12 months lol) is that a lot of women do get VERY intense with their planning. I’m now in a circle of friends that are engaged to my other halves friends (you get that, I’ll give you a second to process what I just said……..okay? I shall continue)  and their fiancées are hardcore! I’m talking 24/7 wedding talk, from the ribbon that’s going around their cake to the first dance song. Of course the first dance conversation was all very cryptic from this bride to be in particular – ‘it’s available on iTunes, has a version with a male and female artist as well as one with just female, the female version is the main version, it is quite well known but not to everybody and is nearly 6 minutes long.’  My head hurts from it all.

The added bonus of my current state is that it is brilliant inspiration for a new book, providing my friends never find out that they’re the inspiration or that might make for a very tense conversation! I’ll keep you posted on that one.

So, if you wondered where I’d been or why I’ve been so quiet, that’s your answer. I’ve been in wedding hell. We have three weddings this year and the first one was last week, it was perfect and heart warming, I shed a tear when she walked down the aisle and it was all very magical….until I partied a little too hard and hobbled away from the dancefloor with a blood blister on my toe and was greeted by dirty bedding at the hotel that we had to replace at 1am. Grrrrr.

For now though, I have a small break from weddings and am going to catch up on all the reviews for books I’ve read. I’ve also got a guest post tomorrow on This Chick Reads but I’ll pop on over and share the link tomorrow.

Sweet dreams my lovelies

Ellen

XOXO

Catching up

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Well hello there you lovely lot!

My gosh has this last month flown. I have so much catching up to do that I don’t know where to start, and then daylight savings time kicks in at the end of March here in the UK so I’ll lose an hour. Meh.

Anyway, I thought I’d let you all know that The Story of Us is on tour this week and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the blogs that are involved. Along the way, there will be reviews, excerpts and teasers, along with a giveaway and THIS is why I thought I’d pop by. The giveaway is for a $15 Amazon giftcard and 3 ebook copies of The Story of Us, it’s pretty exciting.

So aside from that, this month has consisted of a Legally Blonde hen party, trips to the hospital for check ups and having my blood taken, and lots of reading – I really should get caught up on my reviews!

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I hope you’ll all enter and have a look at some of the tour posts, there are some lovely reviews for my book 🙂 I know, I know, I’m shameless ha

Enjoy what’s left of your day my lovelies and I’ll be back soon with those reviews I’m slacking on and more Story of Us news.

Ellen

xoxo