#BookReview: STRINGS ATTACHED by Erin Reinelt @erinreinelt @KatieVEBrown @TrapezeBooks

Strings AttachedPublication: 11th July 2019 – Trapeze

Straight-laced Jean has always done what’s expected of her. By her traditional parents, her demonic boss and her manchild of a boyfriend, Charlie, who has just heckled her friend’s wedding, set fire to the marquee and then relieved himself on Jean’s stilettos. Jean is done with cleaning up other people’s messes, and done with being the good girl.

Waving goodbye to her comfort zone, Jean decides to be a woman heels-over-head and not head-over-heals in love. A woman who screams ‘YES!’ to life and goes on dates with married-but-open pianists like sexy Gabriel… Jean is exploring all that modern romance has to offer, and finally having a little fun.

But can the fun last without entangled hearts being broken? Jean is about to find out.

Featuring an unforgettable cast of characters, this novel is an homage to female-friendship, empowerment and love, which will have you laughing-out-loud and rooting for Jean all the way!

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I’d like to start by thanking Katie Brown and Trapeze for providing me with a copy of STRINGS ATTACHED. It was described as “fun, fresh, feminist fiction that will have you laughing in recognition and yelling in solidarity” and I found myself completely captivated by the story.

Jean has been enduring her drunk boyfriend Charlie’s shenanigans for three long years, but now she has had enough. After breaking up with him, Jean decides it’s time to be more open about her love life and, following the advice of her sister Danielle, she signs up on Thrindel (to meet couples) and travels to Mallorca for an orgasmic retreat with her best friend Tess. And as if her life wasn’t complicated enough, she also falls in love with Gabriel. Handsome, charming, and caring, he is too good to be true, right? In fact, he is married, but his wife lives in New York and they have an open marriage. Will Jean find what she is looking for?

STRINGS ATTACHED is an honest, original, and hilarious novel. Jean gets herself in awkward and laugh-out-loud situations, like going undercover at a sex party, Eyes-Wide-Shut style, or having intestinal problems while attempting to have a threesome. She has a conflicting relationship with her family – not with her sister Danielle, but her parents are a nightmare, I am surprised she still talked to them – and she doesn’t have much luck in love, but her friends are always there for her. I enjoyed reading her group messages with her best friends Tess and Richard. They were so entertaining, sarcastic and sincere.

If you are looking for something refreshing that will make you laugh, then this is a novel I highly recommend!

 

#BlogTour: THE SCHOOL RUN by Helen Whitaker @helbobwhitaker @TrapezeBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n

The School RunPublication: 8th August 2019 – Trapeze

Two mothers. Two daughters. One school place.

Imogen and Lily are old friends – they’ve shared hangovers, unsuitable boyfriends and wild nights out together. But now they’re mums, and their partying days are behind them.

When a place comes up at one of the best primary schools in the area, both women want it for their daughters. From faking religious beliefs to bogus break-ups, Imogen and Lily will go to any lengths to secure the perfect school for their children – and so will all the other mothers.

Will their friendship survive the strain? Will their marriages take the pressure? And when a sexy new vicar arrives on the scene, will the mothers’ keep focus for long enough to keep their eyes on the prize?

A hilarious, heartwarming read, perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella and Fiona Gibson.

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Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for THE SCHOOL RUN, the entertaining debut novel by Helen Whitaker. A huge thank you to Tracy Fenton and Trapeze for inviting me to join the blog tour and providing me with a copy of the novel.

There is nothing more competitive than getting your child into one of the best schools in London, as Helen Whitaker shows in her novel. We have two friends, Lily and Imogen. They used to live together and be best friends. Marriage, children, and career made them lose contact, but now they are both living in the same area and competing to get their daughters into the prestigious St Peter and Paul’s Infant School. The competition is high and all the parents are ready to do anything to get a place for their own children. And while Lily and Imogen try to rekindle their friendship, they also have to face problems at home and with their jobs.

I didn’t know that getting a child into a school could be so stressful. Helen Whitaker portrays a detailed and realistic picture of parents who are willing to pretend they are religious and go to mass every Sunday just to have their child going to the right school. We see them join the organic mothers group, flirt with the hot vicar, hunt for a house by the school to be in the catchment area, and argue over the characters of the Nativity. Some stories made me laugh, some stories were utterly incredible and yet believable.

The chapters alternate between Lily and Imogen. Sometimes I didn’t like them and I found them frustrating, like when Lily kept asking Imogen to babysit her daughter or when Imogen was so keen to live by the school that she would buy a place she didn’t like without asking for the opinion of her boyfriend. I also found them relatable and human. They are mothers trying to do their best for their children, they have to juggle work, house, school, and sometimes with no much help from their partners. They are superwomen and I couldn’t help but sympathize with them.

The story is refreshing and funny, with a few emotional and heart-warming moments while addressing more serious issues. A story not only about parenting and marriage, but also about friendship and loyalty, THE SCHOOL RUN is a compelling read that I highly recommend!

The School Run

Helen Whitaker is a 37-year-old, journalist and mum-of-one living in Walthamstow. She is the former Entertainment Director of Glamour, and has written for a number of publications including StellaThe TelegraphFabulous and Total Film. Helen is currently Acting Deputy Editor at British Airways High Life magazine.

 

 

#BlogTour: THREE DAYS IN FLORENCE by Chrissie Manby @chrissiemanby @JennyPlatt90 @HodderBooks @HodderPublicity

Three Days in FlorencePublication: 8th August 2019 – Hodder & Stoughton

When a mini-break becomes make or break…

Kathy Courage has never visited the famous Italian city of Florence before, so she’s thrilled when she and her boyfriend Neil are invited there for a wedding. Unfortunately, with Neil’s constant complaining and his teenage children in tow, it’s not exactly the romantic break Kathy was hoping for.

But when a mix-up with her flights leaves Kathy stranded in the city, she decides to embrace the unexpected and stay on alone.

What follows is a life-changing few days in the Tuscan sun, as Kathy begins to question the choices that have led her here. With the help of the colourful Innocenti family, who offer Kathy a place to stay, she gradually begins to realise that there’s a much bigger world out there, if only she can be brave enough to explore it.

Could Italy hold the answers to her future happiness? Or is Kathy destined to return to her old life?

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Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for THREE DAYS IN FLORENCE, the fabulous new novel by Chrissie Manby. A huge thank you to Jenny Platt and Hodder & Stoughton for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and for providing me with a copy of this amazing novel.

Kathy Courage’s second name is Florence, in honour of the Italian city where her parents went for their honeymoon. She’s been dreaming to visit the city since she was a child, when her parents told her the story and showed her pictures of the trip, but she’s been waiting for someone special with whom to share the experience. When her partner’s brother announces his wedding in a castle in Tuscany, Kathy has finally the chance to visit the city, but her boyfriend Neil can’t wait to go back to London and to his job. But things don’t go as planned… Call it fate, call it inefficiency of the world’s most perfect personal assistant, but Kathy is forced to spend three more days in Florence without Neil. Luckily, she won’t be alone, but in the company of the Innocenti family…

I devoured this book. The descriptions are so beautiful and detailed that it was like being there myself together with Jean while she visited Palazzo degli Uffizzi, Ponte Vecchio, and the Cathedral of Florence. The story is entertaining, romantic, and funny. The characters are realistic and mostly likable. The only characters I didn’t like are Kathy’s insufferable and selfish boyfriend Neil and his three spoiled teenage children. I couldn’t stand how Neil tried to control her and how he often put her down. But then comes Henry Innocenti, a pianist, half-English, half-Italian handsome, funny, and caring. I mean, there is no competition. Kathy’s submission to Neil’s wishes infuriated me, how she always tried to make everything easy for him. When she is finally alone, she blossoms and she becomes more alive and engaging. For Kathy the trip to Florence is a journey of self-discovery, a chance to figure out what she really wants from her life.

If you are looking for an heart-warming and brilliant story about friendship and love that will take you in one of the most beautiful city in the world, then THREE DAYS IN FLORENCE to not miss!

3DaysInFlorence-blog-tour

#BookReview: THE FAMILY UPSTAIRS by Lisa Jewell @lisajewelluk @laurabrooke59

The Family UpstairsPublication: 8th August 2019 – Century

In a large house in London’s fashionable Chelsea, a baby is awake in her cot. Well-fed and cared for, she is happily waiting for someone to pick her up.

In the kitchen lie three decomposing corpses. Close to them is a hastily scrawled note. 

They’ve been dead for several days.

Who has been looking after the baby? 

And where did they go?

Two entangled families.
A house with the darkest of secrets.
A compulsive new thriller from Lisa Jewell.

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I loved the new novel by Lisa Jewell. It’s so dark, suspenseful, and haunting that, despite the unsettling feeling it gave me, I couldn’t put it down.

The story is told from three different perspectives. Libby is a young woman living in St. Albans who has her whole life planned out. However, on her twenty-fifth birthday, she finds out that she has inherited a big house so, with the help of a journalist, she sets forth to find out more about her past and her family. Lucy is a homeless woman in her forties living on the streets of Nice with her two children and her dog. The day she’s been waiting for has finally arrived, but first she has to find a way to go back to England. Henry remembers a childhood that turned upside down when David and his family moved in in his house. What do these three people have in common? A big house in the heart of Chelsea where, twenty-four years earlier, three bodies were discovered in what it appeared to be a suicide pact, while upstairs a baby was found unharmed and well taken care of.

The author clear writing style made me fly through the pages while a few psychopathic and evil characters, traumatised children, disturbing relationships make a for a very chilling read. You can’t trust the characters because they don’t tell the whole truth, so there are twists and surprises when you less expect it (there is a big twist on the very last page!), while the tension builds up. THE FAMILY UPSTAIRS is a compelling and claustrophobic story of control, manipulation, abuse, and toxic relationships, a fantastic and gripping new addition to my Lisa Jewell’s collection!

A huge thank you to Laura Brooke and Cornerstone for providing me with a copy of the novel.

 

 

#BookReview: THE PERFECT WIFE by JP Delaney @QuercusBooks @Hannah_Robbo @ellakroftpatel #ThePerfectWife

The Perfect WifePublication: 8th August 2019 – Quercus

“There’s something I have to explain, my love,” he says, taking your hand in his. “That wasn’t a dream. It was an upload.”

Abbie wakes in a hospital bed with no memory of how she got there. The man by her side explains that he’s her husband. He’s a titan of the tech world, the founder of one of Silicon Valley’s most innovative startups. He tells Abbie she’s a gifted artist, a doting mother to their young son, and the perfect wife.

Five years ago, she suffered a terrible accident. Her return from the abyss is a miracle of science, a breakthrough in artificial intelligence that has taken him half a decade to achieve.

But as Abbie pieces together memories of her marriage, she begins questioning her husband’s motives – and his version of events. Can she trust him when he says he wants them to be together for ever? And what really happened to her, half a decade ago?

A gripping psychological thriller, perfect for fans of The Woman in the Window and The Wife Between Us.

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After devouring The Girl Before and Believe Me, JP Delaney is back with another brilliant and twisty novel that literally kept me on the edge of my seat. Weird and dark is one way to describe it, brilliant is another, utterly captivating is another one.

JP Delaney mixes artificial intelligence and obsession to create a mystery thriller set in Silicon Valley, the world’s capital of technology. Abbie Cullen is a beautiful and smart artist. Tim Scott is the founder of Scott Technologies, an innovative start-up. Tim and Abbie meet, fall in love, get married, and have a child. It’s the perfect love story, right? However, nothing is perfect in their love story and, as the author narrates Abbie and Tim’s romance from the beginning to the present day when Tim’s love leads him to use technology to create the perfect wife, I couldn’t help but wonder: was Abbie and Tim’s marriage as happy and perfect as it seemed?

Tim is considered a genius, driven and brilliant. Like all the male protagonists in JP Delaney’s novel, he is also obsessed. He is looking for perfection and, for him, perfection is embodied in Abbie. However, Abbie is a drug addict, a free spirit who doesn’t like to be controlled so Tim uses technology to turn her into the perfect woman, the perfect wife he’s been looking for. What started as a story of grief, great love, and second chances, turned into a psychological thriller about obsession and perfection.

The story is original and thought-provoking, full of intrigue, family drama, and suspense. Some of the story is hard to believe and yet there are themes that rise a few moral and ethical questions about our use of technology, artificial intelligence, data rights, and consent.

For me, THE PERFECT WIFE is JP Delaney’s best novel so far. It’s riveting, twisty and the jaw-dropping ending completely took me by surprise, and now I am already looking forward to the author’s next novel. A must-read not to miss!!!

A huge thank you to Hannah, Ella, and Quercus for providing me with a copy of the novel.

The Perfect Wife social media blast poster

 

 

 

#BlogTour: HONEYMOON FOR ONE by Frankie Collins @FrankieCollins_ @BoldwoodBooks @PortiaMacIntosh

9781838890773Publication: 6th August 2019 – Boldwood Books

When disaster strikes, paradise calls…

As a published novelist, Lila Rose has been writing about fictional weddings all her life. But disaster strikes on her own big day when she hears her philandering fiancé, Daniel whispering sweet nothings to someone else.

With her dream day shattered, all Lila wants to do is run and hide, so she decides to fly solo on her own honeymoon.

When Daniel arrives in the resort with his new squeeze, Lila strikes up a ‘showmance’ with hot new movie star, Freddie Bianchi. Freddie is perfect for the part and Lila soon relaxes into her leading lady role.

But as truth starts to merge with fiction, could real love be in the air?

A sizzling holiday romance, perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Lindsey Kelk and Sophie Ranald’s Sorry Not Sorry.

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Chapter One

My Wedding Day

Your wedding day is the start of a life-long journey, and, like any other journey, it
requires a lot of planning.
First, and most importantly, you need to know where you’re going and how you’re
going to get there. Are you on a one-track path to growing old together or are you
planning on making stops at pets, babies or house moves?
On a real trip you’re going to want insurance, but on the life-long journey of
marriage, assurance is what you need. Are you doing this with the right person? Will
they stand by you for better, for worse? For richer, for poorer? In sickness and in
health?
When your plans are all in place and it’s time to set off on this wonderful, wild
adventure, the only thing left to do is pack – but pack light.
Unfortunately, on this non-stop flight to a happy ever after, ex-boyfriends will not
fit in the overhead storage, no matter how much you dissected the relationship. All
baggage must be destroyed before boarding – you absolutely cannot bring your baggage
into a marriage.
Before you tie the knot, customs will confiscate any and all contraband still on
your person, not limited to, but including flirtatious WhatsApp threads and other
miscellaneous weaponry.
I’m travelling light today. All I have with me is my something old (a necklace my
grandma left me in her will), my something new (the sapphire studs in my ears), and my
something borrowed (a handkerchief from my mum, which I’m going to keep in the
pocket of my wedding dress, because you’d better believe I had my wedding dress made
with sneaky pockets). My something blue is (apparently) my best friend, Ali, who is
currently lying on the chaise longue at the bottom of my bed in my hotel room.
‘Oh, Lila,’ she says dramatically. ‘Are you sure you want to do this?’
I smile at myself in the mirror. Most best friends are supportive, attentive maids of
honour. Ali is showing me her love and support by constantly questioning whether or
not this is the right thing to do. I wouldn’t have her any other way though.
‘I’m pretty sure,’ I tell her. ‘I made sure I was sure before I spent thousands of
pounds on a wedding and a honeymoon.’
‘Well, yeah, I figured,’ she replies. ‘But… I don’t know, I don’t think I thought you’d
go through with it.’
I laugh.
‘And yet here we are,’ I say, smiling at her.
‘Daniel is… you know, he’s fine,’ she says.
‘Fine,’ I repeat back to her. Just what a bride wants to hear on her wedding day.
‘Yeah, he’s fine… he’s maybe just fine though?’
My best friend hasn’t waited until my wedding day to say this, she’s been telling
me for years that Daniel was just too boring to settle down with. I think this is a ‘speak
now or forever hold your peace’ type conversation, not that the latter sounds remotely
like something Ali would do.
‘I know you think he’s boring,’ I tell her. ‘But, maybe “boring guys” are the ones
you settle down with? Take that playboy banker you met last weekend – you wouldn’t
marry him, would you?’
‘Well, someone clearly did,’ she points out. ‘There was a wedding ring in his hotel
bathroom.’
‘Was?’ I dare to ask.
‘Yeah, I flushed it down the lav,’ she says casually. ‘I really don’t appreciate being
lied to.’
Ali is a real force to be reckoned with.
‘I know you’re only being semi-serious with the whole talking me out of getting
married thing,’ I start. ‘But honestly, I’ve thought this through. I love him, we’re happy
together – OK, things might not be wild, but I know in my heart that it’s time to put sexy
playboy bankers behind me.’
‘Well, that’s what I do with them,’ Ali says with a wiggle of her eyebrows.
I know that Ali just wants me to be happy, but I did consider all of this before
agreeing to marry my fiancé, Daniel Tyler, and when I say I considered it before
agreeing, I mean I literally asked him for a moment, before I gave him my answer. The
reason for this is because marriage is something I take seriously. My parents, both sixtyfive
years of age, have been married since they were nineteen. I might be thirty-one, but
I want to marry once, and for life. I had a blast in my twenties, Daniel and I moved in
together when I was twenty-nine and now, comfortably accepting of the fact I am in my
thirties, I finally feel ready to tie the knot.
When some women say they have been planning their wedding for years, what
they really mean is they’ve been dressing up in net curtains as kids and trolling
Pinterest for flower arrangements as adults. Well, I really have been planning weddings
for years… sort of. Not my own wedding and I’m certainly not a wedding planner.
I’m a rom-com author and although the weddings I work with may be fictional, I
haven’t just planned a lot of them – I’ve ruined a lot of them too. I’ve written ten books
now, so it’s pretty safe to say I’ve considered every possible triumph, every little hiccup
and every epic fail my romantic yet devious mind can conjure up.
So, yes, while I have researched flowers, cakes and dresses, and tweaked them
accordingly (pockets! Honestly, this is going to be a game changer), I don’t just know
what this wedding needs, I know what it doesn’t need too. Obsessing over what flavour
frosting to have is rather silly – that’s just the icing on the cake. What you should be
worrying about are the things that are out of your control.
I have essentially reverse-engineered every single wedding I’ve ever written, to
make sure that my real wedding is perfect. It’s kind of a genius move.

Frankie Collins Blog Tour (2)

Frankie Collins is the pseudonym of Portia MacIntosh, bestselling romantic comedy author of 12 novels, including It’s Not You, It’s Them and The Accidental Honeymoon. Previously a music journalist, Frankie writes hilarious stories, drawing on her real life experiences.

Amazon Link – http://bit.ly/HoneymoonForOneFC

Frankie’s Twitter – https://twitter.com/frankiecollins_

Frankie’s Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/frankiecollinsauthor

Frankie’s Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/frankiecollinsauthor/

Frankie’s page on our website – https://www.boldwoodbooks.com/contributor/frankie-collins/

 

 

#BookReview: 99% MINE by Sally Thorne @Sally__Thorne @PiatkusBooks @LittleBookCafe @JoannaWick

99 percent minePublication: 4th July 2019 – Piaktus

crush (n.): a strong infatuation, particularly for someone beyond your reach . . .

Darcy Barrett found her dream man at age eight – ever since, she’s had to settle for good enough. Having conducted a global survey of men, she can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that he’s her twin brother Jamie’s best friend – oh, and that ninety-nine of the time, he hasn’t seemed interested in her.

When the twins inherit their grandmother’s tumble-down cottage, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory. Darcy plans to leave as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run – her usual MO – she finds a familiar face on her porch: Tom’s arrived bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade.

Suddenly Darcy’s sticking around. Sparks start to fly – and not just because of the faulty wiring. But a one percent chance with Tom is no longer enough. This time around, Darcy’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska ninety-nine percent hers.

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If you loved Sally Thorne’s previous novel, The Hating Game, then you are going to ADORE this one. It’s romantic, hilarious, and captivating, the perfect read for this hot summer.

Darcy Barrett has been running away her whole life, traveling around the world as soon as possible. And now she is preparing to leave home again, as soon as the renovations of the house her grandmother left her are done. The only problem? The contractor doing the job is none other than Tom Valeska, her first and only true love. And how can she stay away from him when he is so sweet, caring, and funny?

I really enjoyed this book. I laughed a lot and I didn’t want it to end. The witty exchanges between Darcy and her brother Jamie were hilarious. They are twins, they take care of each other, but they have completely different personalities that clash over and over again. The relationship between Darcy and Tom is beautiful. They are obviously attracted to each other and it was funny to read Darcy trying to provoke and seduce him, while he tried to keep their relationship on the friendship zone. Tom is the typical nice guy who follow the rules and tries to make everyone happy. Darcy often describes him as “perfect”. On the other hand, Darcy is impulsive, jumping in and out of planes, ready for her next adventure. I loved see their relationship develop from friendship to love, with all its bumps and misunderstanding.

99% MINE is a refreshing, fast-paced and engaging read that features fantastic characters and Sally Thorne’s brilliant and clear writing that made me fly through the pages. Highly recommended!

A huge thank you to Jo and Piaktus for providing me with a copy of the novel.