Saturday 31 January 2015

Review for The Curvy Girls Club by Michele Gorman - Five *


A hilarious, heart-warming read about normal women who decide to ditch the weighing scales and love themselves just the way they are.
Perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella and Bridesmaids.
Can the curvy girls have their cake and eat it?
Meet best friends Pixie, Ellie, Katie and Jane. Fed up with always struggling to lose weight, they start a social club where size doesn’t matter. Soon it’s the most popular place to be – having fun instead of counting carbs. And the girls suddenly find their lives changing in ways they never imagined.
But outside the club, things aren’t as rosy, as they struggle with the ups and downs of everyday life.
In this funny, heart-warming read about normal women learning to love themselves, the curvy girls soon realise that no matter what life throws at them, together, anything is possible . . .


I was on the Fast Diet when I started reading this book. By the time I'd finished it, I was off the diet! The time spent with Katie, Ellie, Jane and Pixie changed my way of thinking. The idea of a club for women who are sick of feeling bad about themselves simply because they are larger than the ideal is fabulous. The four women have strong characters and their interaction is fascinating. Katie's dilemmas concerning her weight loss and her men make a great storyline. I sympathised greatly with her over Alex, I've met many like him!

This made such a pleasant change from the normal rom com/chick-lit/romance - thank you Michele! And I've just about got over the lack of an apostrophe on the cover ;)

Friday 30 January 2015

I get the Goodreads Daily Quote and I loved today's so thought I would share it -

Books are the carriers of civilization...They are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind. Books are humanity in print. 

Barbara W. Tuchman

Wednesday 28 January 2015

If anyone is interested in joining a really dynamic secret book club on Facebook which currently has 1500 members from all over the world, including some fantastic authors who are doing online Q&As and regularly pop online for a chat, giveaways, recommendations as well as general book banter -  Over the next few months they have Eleanor PrescottMichele Gorman, Tamar Cohen,Official Lisa Jewell Pagel, Jane Lythell AuthorMarissa Farrar - Official Author's PageMark Billingham Samantha HayesAmanda Prowse, Matt Hilton, Carole Matthews and Tina Seskis all booked and confirmed. Plus loads more until 2016!

Here is the Facebook address: Askthe Author - just ask to be a friend and you will be added - amazingly active page :)

Sunday 25 January 2015

A Review for Southern Spirits by Angie Fox. Four *


One simple mistake… 
For a girl who is about to lose her family home, 
Releases the ghost of a long-dead gangster, 
And opens Verity Long’s eyes to a whole new world. 

When out of work graphic designer Verity Long accidentally traps a ghost on her property, she’s saddled with more than a supernatural sidekick—she gains the ability see spirits. It leads to an offer she can’t refuse from the town’s bad boy, the brother of her ex and the last man she should ever partner with. 

Ellis Wyatt is in possession of a stunning historic property haunted by some of Sugarland Tennessee’s finest former citizens. Only some of them are growing restless—and destructive. He hires Verity to put an end to the disturbances. But soon, Verity learns there’s more to the mysterious estate than floating specters, secret passageways, and hidden rooms. 

There’s a modern day mystery afoot, one that hinges on a decades-old murder. Verity isn't above questioning the living, or the dead. But can she discover the truth before the killer finds her? 


This was the first book I had read by Angie Fox so I had no expectations. And I actually enjoyed it very much. It was a clever mix of Deep South manners and ghosts with very strong characters! Verity dumped her fiancé at the altar for very good reasons and he then sued her for costs. She sells the entire contents of the house she inherited from her grandmother and needs to find another large sum to prevent the sale of the actual house. She finds a dreadful vase and dumps the contents on the roses. This is when the fun starts! Angie has a great sense of humour and this is evident in every page. Verity is a feisty young woman and doesn't let the impossible stop her from doing anything! I won't go into plot details as this is the first of a series and I'm not about write any spoilers!
This book is great fun - get it and have a laugh

Amazon UK: Southern Spirits
Amazon US: Southern Spirits

Wednesday 21 January 2015

A quick review for a short story/novella set in Sydney, Australia. It's called A Kirribilli Christmas and is by Louise Reynolds. I've given it Four * - the reason is in the review.


Eight years ago Shelby left Sydney for LA, determined to set the world on fire. Now she's nearly broke and her boyfriend has left her alone at Christmas. Lonely and miserable, Shelby finds herself drawn back to the childhood home she thought she'd left behind . . .

Frangipani House now belongs to Dan Sayers, the boy from the wrong side of the tracks who found a new start in Kirribilli. When he spots Shelby dragging her suitcase up the front steps on Christmas Eve, he can't believe his eyes. It's been four years since he last saw her. Then, she'd been aloof, a stranger in designer sunglasses and killer heels, barely acknowledging their shared past.

As Christmas unfolds, Shelby and Dan grow closer than ever before and Shelby begins to see her ramshackle home in a new light. But before she and Dan can have any hope of a future together, they must first confront their past.


This is a short story/novella about Shelby and Dan. Given that it was necessarily truncated, I felt that the relationship didn't really have time to develop in this story. There were a lot of assumptions made and, despite what it says on the blurb, they didn't really confront their past. Every time Shelby faced an unpleasant truth, she just accepted it. People can't change a lifetime's way of thinking in 24 hours. For this reason I think it would have made a better full length novel. Then her view of the past would have time to change. A longer book would also allow the reader to see how her relationships with her foster brothers and sisters develop as they iron out their differences. What I did enjoy was reading about Sydney at Christmas. I lived there in the 70's and it brought back some happy memories :) And having said all that, I enjoyed the story - liked the characters (especially Dan) and would definitely read more of Louise Reynolds' books.

Amazon UK: A Kirribilli Christmas
Amazon Au: A Kirribilli Christmas

Tuesday 20 January 2015

Another quickie as I am seriously into reading at the moment!

Many congratulations to Mandy Baggot for her 2 book deal with Bookcouture! If you haven't read any of Mandy's books do give them a try:

Mandy on Amazon UK: Mandy Baggot books

Mandy on Amazon US: Mandy Baggot books

Saturday 17 January 2015

I recently read Jane Lovering's latest book: How I Wonder What You Are. It was another fabulous book and Jane kindly agreed to an interview. First of all - here is my review - Yet another Five* review!


“Maybe he wasn’t here because of the lights – maybe they were here because of him …” 
It’s been over eighteen months since Molly Gilchrist has had a man (as her best friend, Caro, is so fond of reminding her) so when she as good as stumbles upon one, lying comatose, on the moors one bitterly cold morning, it seems like the Universe is having a laugh at her expense.
But Phinn Baxter (that’s Doctor Phinneas Baxter) is no drunken layabout, as Molly is soon to discover; with a PhD in astrophysics and a tortured past that is a match for Molly’s own disastrous love life.
Finding mysterious men on the moors isn’t the weirdest thing Molly has to contend with, however. There’s also those strange lights she keeps seeing in the sky. The ones she’s only started seeing since meeting Phinn … 

I've read all Jane's books and this one was equal to, if not better than them all. I love the touch of magic/supernatural in them and the humour. The humour is fantastic. I laugh out loud and in a couple of places ended up crying with laughter. 
Molly and Phinn are fabulous characters and their conversations are a scream. How they meet is just off the wall! They are also very damaged people and this side of their relationship is dealt with very sensitively. I confess I had to read the speech from Link twice to see what Phinn heard but then it all made sense. And Molly's hatred of her mother wasn't explained until halfway through the book, which kept me on my toes! 
I also liked the fact that the lights remain a mystery.
I recommend this book wholeheartedly :)

And here is the interview with the wonderfully funny Jane Lovering:

Her caveat at the beginning: I rarely seem to give a straight answer to anything apart from ‘would you like another biscuit…)

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how the writing started?

 I'm not altogether sure how I started writing..I mean, I know how, obviously, I had a pen in my hand and I started making wordy-type scratches with it, but the whole ‘writing process’ thing continues to be a bit of a mystery.  I think it all started <pulls up a chair, lights a pipe and puffs slowly> when I fell so deeply in love with some literary characters that I used to try to continue their stories after the book ended. <Puffs thoughtfully> I’d read my way through the Exeter children’s library by the time I was about eight, so there were a lot of characters to work with. 

Apart from the writing, I work in a local school, where I disguise the mayhem I cause by wearing a white coat and carrying things up and down.  I live in a crumbly old house, but that’s fine because I'm pretty crumbly and old myself, with a floating collection of nearly-adult children who hove into sight at the smell of a roast dinner, a resident poltergeist,  three dogs and five cats. Which may explain the poltergeist, now I come to think of it.

2. The story in How I Wonder What You Are is unusual - where did the idea for the lights come from?

 I have no idea where my ideas come from. Really. The whole ‘lights in the sky’ thing came as part of the package when Molly and Phinn arrived in my brain – I think there’s a giant ray out there somewhere, beaming these things into my head, it’s only the need to earn a living that stops me from donning a tin-foil hat.

4. This is the 4th of a series of stand alone books set in Yorkshire - why there?

 My books are all set in Yorkshire because that’s where I live, which makes research a hell of a lot easier.  Also, the North is a neglected literary part of the world – apart from your Brontes and everyone who likes to write about men in kilts, there’s not a lot of fiction set up here.  Plus we’ve got York and the moors and the coast, and Whitby and everything… I’m beginning to sound as though the Tourist Board are sponsoring me now.  But it’s an interesting place, it’s underused, and I can do my location research from my bed, so that’s pretty much why.  Oh, and if the Tourist Board do want to sponsor me, I would be very grateful. They can pay me in Hobnobs, if it makes it easier…

3. A lot of books are described as romcom's but yours truly are very funny. Have you always had a strong sense of the ridiculous? And has it ever got you into trouble ;) ?

I never really think of my books as romcoms.  To me, they are just life.  Maybe I just have a very strange life…I know that some people can’t understand, given the level of chaos I normally exist in, how I even get up and dressed in the morning, but I do. Mostly. All right, sometimes I’ve still got my slippers on at lunchtime, and I once forgot to put my pants on, and I’ve often had it pointed out to me at work that my top is back to front, but I’m up and dressed.

4. I love the way your heroes and heroines are all damaged - this makes them very human. How do you decide what the problems are and are they based on personal experiences?

I don’t consciously ‘pick’ my heroes and heroines, and the problems that they have are part of the whole package that arrives in my brain (see also, Beaming, Tin-Foil Hat, Giant Death-Ray).  I’m pretty nearly convinced that these people actually exist in another universe, and their life-stories sort of ‘break through’ to me when I’m doing other things, like trying to remember to put my pants on, and where I left the HobNobs. One day the people themselves are going to break through too, probably waving lawsuits and injunctions.

5. You have written two very genres - the Yorkshire Romances and The Otherworlders series, which do you prefer writing and why?

I don’t have a favourite between the contemps or the paranormals.  To me, the paranormals are just stories about people too, it’s just that some of the people are more..err…fangy than in the contemporary novels.  People are just people, after all, whatever has happened to them, and I always want to make my characters as ‘real’ as I can, so even my paranormals are really just people trying to get along amid the Kit-Kats and paperclips of everyday life.  Just with zombies, that’s all.

6. What are you working on at the moment? (Selfish reason for asking this - I'm praying there will be more Vampires!)
At the moment I am procrastinating hugely, but if anyone asks I’m working on a contemp set in a National Trust-type house, featuring birds of prey and a tea shop.  You may, or may not I make no judgements here, be pleased to know that the book I shall be starting after ‘Crush’ (for this is the title of the book known as ‘the one with the tea shop’ at the moment), will be the third, and final, book in the Vampires of York series.  Expect road trips, hiding, the death of a character, and a lot more biscuits.

I, for one, am delighted that there is another Vampire book on the way!!

Thursday 15 January 2015

Two eagerly anticipated books out today! The Curvy Girls Club by Michele Gorman and Three Amazing Things About You by Jill Mansell.

Jill says she has never been so proud of a book and Michele says her book is about something close to her heart - learning to love yourself!

Both books are on my kindle and I can't wait to read and review this space!

You can get Michele's book here:

Amazon UK Link: The Curvy Girls Club
Amazon US Link: The Curvy Girls Club

And Jill's book here: 

Amazon UK link: Three Amazing Things About You

Amazon US link: Three Amazing Things About You

I also should have mentioned Carole Matthews' new book The Cake Shop in the Garden came out a few days ago. Also to be read and reviewed. If you don't hear from me for a while, you know why!

You can get Carole's book here: 
Amazon UK Link: The Cake Shop in the Garden
Amazon US Link: The Cake Shop in the Garden

Now, where did I put my kindle........?

Saturday 10 January 2015

Quick post today as I am deep in Nancy Naigle's new book!

Louise Marley has some promotions coming up, make sure you check them out - she's definitely worth a read!

Louise Marley promotions

Friday 9 January 2015

Third Time Lucky by Pippa Croft - Review - Five*


'It's Sister Dixon from the Royal Infirmary here. I'm sorry to tell you that Captain Hunt has been involved a serious incident.'

It's the start of the Easter holidays and Lauren Cusack should be heading back to Washington before her final term at Wyckham College, Oxford. But this call changes everything. Her relationship with impossibly handsome aristocrat Alexander Hunt has been turbulent, passionate and addictive. Lauren knows she needs to walk away, but as she now rushes to his side she knows she will be sucked back into his world.

And sure enough, Alexander - even a seriously injured Alexander - is an intoxicating cocktail Lauren cannot resist and despite everything that is sent to thwart them - and with Alexander there is drama at every turn - she finds herself happier than she's ever been.

But as her final term races by, and she is offered the perfect job back in Washington whilst Alexander is tied to his Estate, the impossibility of their romance hits home.

The love trials of Lauren and Alexander continue in the third book in Pippa Croft's brilliant new Oxford Blue romance series.

The Oxford Blue Series "concludes" in Third Time Lucky. You'll see the reason for the quotation marks at the end of the review.

Without giving too much away (which is difficult with this book), Alexander and Lauren's mutual addiction continues unabated. It seems that they can never have the Happy Ever After they want - he has the estate to look after so must remain in the UK. Lauren is handed a dream job in the US and so they have to part. I was in tears. We've been through so much with them both and the situation seems impossible. I couldn't stand the thought that Lauren would have to exist without him and vice versa.

The nasty byline characters get their comeuppance and I cheered loud and long! Loose ends get tidied up for the nice ones. Except, to a point, Alexander and Lauren. Without giving too much away, WE NEED A FOURTH BOOK! Hence the quotation marks earlier. There is more to this story and we need to mount a campaign to persuade Penguin Books to agree to a fourth book. I know the author will happily write it!

The best scene of the whole series for me is in Third Time Lucky. All I'll say is "swimming pool"......

So who is with me in the campaign?

You can buy the Kindle book and paperback at Amazon UK here: Third Time Lucky

And the paperback on Amazon US here: Third Time Lucky

Thursday 8 January 2015

The Second Time I Saw You by Pippa Croft - Review - Five *

Shortlisted for Best ebook at the Festival of Romance 2014

Lauren and Alexander's journey continues in the second novel in Pippa Croft's Oxford Blue romance series.

It's the beginning of a new term at Wyckham College, Oxford, and a fresh start for Lauren Cusack. Her fingers were badly burnt when a whirlwind romance with gorgeous English aristocrat, Alexander Hunt, became too hot to handle - and now she's determined to keep her distance.

Her resolve is shaken when Alexander appears on her doorstep - he's been completely torn apart by some devastating news. Lauren knows that she should stay away, but their chemistry is undeniable and she soon finds herself back in Alexander's arms.

Can Lauren handle the drama that comes with Alexander Hunt? Or will she have to sacrifice the most exhilarating passion she's ever known . . .

Fans of E L James, Tammara Webber and Beth Kery won't be able to get enough of Pippa Croft's Oxford Blue romance series. The First Time We Met and The Second Time I Saw You are the first two novels in the series, followed by Third Time Lucky, which is also available to pre-order from Penguin.

I'd been waiting for the second book with bated breath! And I certainly wasn't disappointed. Tension arrived in this book, which I wasn't expecting and found it very emotional - I knew an 'Alexander' when I was at college and the hot and cold sides of him are something I recognise well. The coming together and moving apart was very much a feature of this book as well and helps to create the tension. The tension was further increased by the behaviour of Emma, Alexander's sister. That byline had me on the edge of my seat!

I like the way Pippa has developed the characters of Lauren and Alexander - particularly Alexander. He has become much deeper and generally more human in this second book. He is British upper class and so will have the "stiff upper lip" but Lauren's warmth is reaching him and affecting him in a very positive way. He is starting to feel the love!

The settings in Oxford and Alexander's home were lovely and divide the book into separate scenes in a very realistic way.
All in all, I loved it - but a real cliff hanger ending left me desperate for the third book!

You can buy it here on Amazon UK in paperbook and kindle: The Second Time I Saw You

And on Amazon US in paperback: The Second Time I Saw You

Wednesday 7 January 2015

Pippa Croft Competition!! 

On Pippa's Facebook page: Pippa Croft Facebook or Twitter: Pippa Croft Twitter

How would you like to win paperback copies of Second Time I Saw You AND Third Time Lucky? She'll even sign them for you. All you have to do is comment on her Facebook message or to her Twitter account @PippaCroftBooks with the name or a picture of who YOU would cast as Lauren or Alexander in a movie/TV series of the book. She'll gather all the names and pick one on Monday January 12th.
The First Time We Met by Pippa Croft - Review - Five*


The First Time We Met is the first novel in the sizzling new Oxford Blue romance series from Pippa Croft.

Lauren and Alexander's journey continues in The Second Time I Saw You and Third Time Lucky, which are both available to pre-order in ebook now.

When US Senator's daughter Lauren Cusack arrives at the enchanting Wyckham College of Oxford University, she hopes to mend her broken heart by throwing herself into her studies.

But then English aristocrat Alexander Hunt walks into her life and everything changes. Handsome, brooding, and with his own dark past to escape, Alexander is exactly what Lauren doesn't need - but she finds herself helplessly drawn towards him.

Both Alexander and Lauren know that they should stay away from each other . . . but sometimes desire is so powerful that it conquers all else.

Here, as promised, is the review of the first book in the Oxford Blue series by Pippa Croft. This is another writing name for the wonderful Phillipa Ashley. 

Oh how I loved this book. It was one of those which, as you read, you become ever more unwilling to reach the end and so start to read really slowly! 

The setting is Oxford and the author studied there so she can bring the colleges alive for the reader, as well as the surrounding areas. I think that the best way of describing the relationships in this book is that they are a series of comings together and moving apart. The almost obsessive nature of Lauren and Alexander's relationship is fascinating and very believable. 

I like the way the minor characters have major effects on the story line as well - makes it seem more natural as we all interact with others as well as our partners and these interactions affect our main relationships. Lauren is not planning a relationship, not wanting one and almost trying to avoid one. Then she meets Alexander and all bets are off! 

Alexander is the meanest, moodiest, sexiest alpha male I've come across and I loved him as much as Lauren! The twists and turns of their relationship make splendid reading and the sex is hot ;)

I've used this description on Facebook, but I'll use it again here: If you liked 50 Shades of Grey, then you'll love The First Time We Met. It is just as sexy, although in a milder way, but this book is really well written ;) Form an orderly queue please......

Available in paperback and ebook on Amazon here: The First Time We Met

And in paperback on Amazon US here: The First Time We Met

Tuesday 6 January 2015

Drum roll......  Trumpets sound ........ My very first author interview ever!

When I started this blog, I mentioned the Oxford Blue Series by Pippa Croft and recommended it. For those of you who haven't discovered this 3 book series yet - you are in for a treat! All three books are available in paperback and on kindle, I'll put the links to Amazon after the interview.

So.... here it is :) An interview with Pippa Croft (a nom de plume for Phillipa Ashley).

1      1.  Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your writing career?

Although I've worked as a journalist and copywriter since I left university, I didn’t start writing fiction until I was 42! It’s my one regret about writing, I so wish I’d had the nerve to do it sooner. Since then, I've written 12 books, ranging from contemporary romance to erotica. The highlights have been having one of my books made into a Lifetime TV movie and being published by Penguin. I still can’t believe that iconic little bird is on the cover of my books.

2.  How do you come up with the ideas for The Oxford Blue series - the theme is a departure from your books published as Phillipa Ashley?

I've always written sexy books, but since 50 Shades, the market for very hot and erotic fiction and series has opened up many more opportunities. The time seemed perfect for this series and for me to indulge my love of gorgeous, moody Alpha heroes, sassy heroines and glamorous settings.

3.  Why did you set it in Oxford?

I've wanted to set a book there for a very long time and this series seemed the perfect way to do that. I felt I was actually back there, walking along the cloisters and streets while I was writing it. Pure bliss.

4.  Is it unusual to have a serving army officer studying at Oxford? What gave you that idea?

It’s certainly not that unusual and I know a few officers who are studying for masters in International Relations at Oxford and Cambridge. The Army sends them as part of their career development. I even know one who’s applied to the SAS! However, they probably wouldn't go into action during the course but Alexander is always a special case. J I wanted to show his devotion to serving his country and the angst that causes in his personal life because he has to choose between love, family and duty.

5.  Alexander is the moodiest, sexiest man on the planet. Is he based on anyone in particular? Or a combination of men - if so who??? ;)

Sadly, he is a complete figment of my imagination. He’s the most Alpha, the most wealthy and the most troubled of all my heroes and I've loved writing him! Lauren is probably the only woman who could handle him or truly get under his skin. She’s independent, and not impressed by his title and wealth but even she can’t help being swept away by his charisma and forcefulness. What Alexander wants, Alexander gets – or does he?

6.  Will there be a fourth book? I've spoken to several readers who all say that there is unfinished business. 

I’d love to write a fourth book, as I think there’s unfinished business too! It’s up to my publisher – and the best thing readers can do to make it happen is to buy the series.

7.  What's next for Pippa/Phillipa? 

I’d like to write a fourth novella to round off the series, and also I'm working on a new single title contemporary romance.

Fabulous Interview - thank you so much Pippa! Cheers!

Annie & Pippa

Here are the links, as promised: Amazon UK - The Oxford Blue Series

And Amazon US - The Oxford Blue Series

Please read these - you really won't be disappointed! And then we can start on Penguin for a fourth book!  Over the next 3 days, I'll review each book in turn. They are a series and so do have to be read consecutively. If I could give more than five***** I would!

Sunday 4 January 2015

The Silent Tide by Rachel Hore - Review - Four *

Blurb: London, the present day: Emily Gordon has found her dream job, as an editor at a small publishing house. When the biography of a late great English novelist crosses her desk, she discovers, buried beneath the history, a story that simply has to be told…

London, 1948: Isabel Barber has barely arrived in the city when a chance meeting leads to a job offer, and a fascinating career beckons. But as she develops a close working relationship with a charismatic young debut novelist the professional soon becomes personal, and she finds herself fighting for her very survival…

A compelling and engrossing story of hidden lives and secret pasts from the best selling author of A Place of Secrets and A Gathering Storm.

I have to confess I rather galloped through the last couple of chapters. I just couldn't wait to find out what happened! After a slow start after the first chapter, for me, the book soon gathered momentum. The contrast between Isabel in the 50's and Emily in the present day was brilliantly done. Each chapter was headed so you always knew exactly where you were. Having been born in the 50's, it was very interesting to read about the attitudes back then and how we have changed just in my lifetime.

Life moved at a much slower pace and Rachel describes this perfectly. However, I felt that the present day also moved slowly and therefore the contrast wasn't as marked as it could have been.

The twist at the end was very unexpected, but I shall say no more - read it and enjoy it yourself! 

Available on Amazon UK in paperback and kindle: The Silent Tide

And Amazon US: The Silent Tide