As Weekends Go by Jan Brigden

Publisher: Choc Lit

Publication Date: 4 December 2015

What if your entire life changed in the space of a weekend?

When Rebecca’s friend Abi convinces her to get away from it all at the fabulous Hawksley Manor hotel in York, it seems too good to be true. Pampering and relaxation is just what Rebecca needs to distract herself from the creeping suspicion that her husband, Greg, is hiding something from her.

She never imagined that by the end of the weekend she would have dined with celebrities or danced the night away in exclusive clubs. Nor could she have predicted she would meet famous footballer, Alex Heath, or that he would be the one to show her that she deserved so much more …

But no matter how amazing a weekend is, it’s always back to reality come Monday morning – isn’t it?”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank the publisher for approving my NetGalley request for this eBook. It sounded like a fast-paced, exciting romance and I couldn’t wait to find out if my expectations would be met.

I was definitely right about the exciting romance – the weekend scenes were full of fantasy moments. I read this over a sunny weekend in the garden with the children splashing water everywhere and it gave me a real sense of escapism.

When the weekend was over, the heart-pounding revelations just kept on coming and that’s when Rebecca’s dilemma became more complicated. Certain characters never failed to annoy me (I’m pretty sure this was the author’s intention so it was definitely not a bad thing).

The author’s natural style of writing meant that I fell into the storyline effortlessly. It was almost as if I had known Rebecca for years! I also enjoyed switching perspectives throughout because it gave me a deeper understanding of each character.

The ending left me smiling but it also left me wanting more – I would love to know what the future holds for Rebecca!

An interesting mix of fun, frolics and life-changing decisions. As Weekends Go gets 5 stars from me.

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kate1

Bad Brides by Rebecca Chance

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“Good brides promise to obey. Bad brides wouldn’t dream of it…

Milly Gamble is an up-and-coming actress, and the perfect English flower child. At 23, she’s always been cast as the innocent heroine. But looks can deceive. Calculating and fiercely ambitious, Milly is determined to be the most famous star in England. And how better to achieve her goal than by dating Tarquin Ormond, lead singer of the biggest folk band of the moment? Tarquin is madly in love with Milly; Milly is only in love with herself.

Brianna Jade is an all-American pageant girl. The daughter of Tamra Maloney, a stunning billionairess, Brianna is a sweet, pretty girl who is more than happy to go along with her mother’s ambitious plans for her. Now Tamra’s brought her to the UK and hooked her up with an Earl. He has a crumbling stately home and needs a rich wife to help restore it to its former glory. Tamra is as ambitious and determined as Brianna is sweet and innocent – is this more a case of mother-in-law-zilla than bridezilla?

Both Milly and Brianna’s upcoming weddings will be huge, lavish events that garner national press. But with the cover of the biggest magazine in the country to be won, things are about to get very dirty…”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank ed pr for sending me this book to read and give an honest review.  I’ve enjoyed previous books by this author (reviews here) so I was looking forward to getting stuck in to this one.

The character introductions at the beginning of the book gave me a very clear impression of what their personalities were like. The two sets of couples and the people who surrounded them were all very interesting although for some reason I found myself more drawn to Brianna Jade and Edmund. I could tell early on that it was going to be an eventful read and boy was I right!

The appearance of characters from Rebecca’s previous books gave Bad Brides a familiar edge, I always enjoy catching up with old characters because it makes me feel like I’m meeting up with old friends. Out of all the new characters, it was Abel the pig farmer who piqued my interest the most. He was a quiet, mysterious type who I just wanted to know more about.

There was also a darker side to the storyline involving bribery, lies and manipulation. This was something that I particularly enjoyed because it surprised me, I gasped out loud in shock on quite a few of these darker occasions.

Certain twists towards the end hinted at the direction in which the storyline was headed and by the time I got to the last few chapters I had a fairly good idea how things were going to turn out.

As always with books from this author, there were some very steamy moments and scenes involving drug use so if this is likely to offend you then it probably isn’t a book for you.

Bad Brides is full of glamorous characters and naughtiness, a classic Rebecca Chance book!

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So, You Think You’re A Celebrity… Chef? by Caroline James

So you think...

Mix together…

A tough-cookie media agent who’s clawed her way to the top, and a con-man who wants to open a cookery school. Add in a washed-up celebrity chef whose career needs re-building…

Flavour with…

An aging rock star fresh from rehab, and a Sloane Ranger food writer who gets her own TV show…

Bring to the boil…

At a Gourmet Food Festival, in Ireland, where anything goes!”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank Janice from Loveahappyending for sending me this eBook to read and give an honest review.  I think this is only the second book I have read about chefs so it was a refreshing change for me, particularly as this one involved celebrity chefs.

The descriptive writing brought everything to life, it made every scene so easy to picture in my mind and there was even a moment which was so beautifully described it made me seriously crave a bacon sandwich for the rest of the day!!  I loved reading from each characters point of view because it gave me a deeper insight into their lives and personalities.  It also meant that there were many different sides of the story so I felt like there was always something going on to keep me interested.

Romantic tension, criminal activity and unexpected twists were just some of the features of this book that made it so readable for me.  I wasn’t sure how it was going to end but I had a firm idea in my head of how I wanted it to go – as I read the final few pages I had a smile on my face so you can be assured I was pleased with the result.

This was a fun read full of interesting characters, who knew the celebrity chef world would be so fascinating!

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Waiting For Prince Harry by Aven Ellis

Waiting for prince harry

“Twenty-four-year-old Kylie Reed has always been a rule follower. Organized and cautious to a fault, her dreams for life are often filed away for future use—when she has a house, when she meets her future husband, when she has been at her visual display job at a chic Dallas boutique longer. Kylie always has a reason for living her life in the future, not in the present, and fears not living her life to the fullest and reaching her dream of becoming a fashion designer. 

The only exception to rules, of course, would be running away with Prince Harry. But living in Dallas and not knowing Prince Harry make this a non-option. 

Or does it? 

Because when Kylie accidentally falls into the lap of a gorgeous ginger guy—yes, even more gorgeous than the real Prince Harry—all bets are off. Kylie’s life takes some unexpected twists and turns thanks to this encounter. Could this stranger be the one to show Kylie how to live in the present? “

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank the author for sending me this eBook to read and give an honest review. I read and reviewed (here) Aven’s first book Connectivity which I thoroughly enjoyed so I couldn’t wait to get started on this one – the title really has the smile factor!

The storyline began with Kylie as bridesmaid for her brother’s lavish wedding, sadly she felt uncomfortable and out-of-place because she was the kind of person who preferred her own company.  She certainly didn’t seem to have much in common with most of the wedding guests so I could see how she would feel strange about it. On the brighter side, the wedding led to her meeting Harrison for the first time and I have to say I particularly loved the way they met.

Kylie and Harrison had fab chemistry, there were many moments between them that made my heart skip a beat – it was very easy to see what she saw in him because I personally think he was kind of perfect.  The effect that Harrison had on Kylie was lots of fun to read especially when she was trying to avoid facing her feelings. Later on their kisses were electrifying, they almost sizzled off the Kindle screen at me!

The author’s comfortable writing style made this so easy and fun to read, the references to Connectivity added some familiarity to the book and I really liked that.  I also liked the way Aven brought social media into the storyline, for me it made it so current and relatable.

This was a unputdownable, feel-good read that held my attention throughout.

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Breaking the Ice by Mandy Baggot

Breaking the ice

“When routine driven box office assistant Samantha Smith meets the stars of ‘Skating on Broadway’ her life is turned upside down. Immediately attracted to lead skater Jimmy Lloyd, Samantha does her best to deny her feelings. But when all you can do is burst out laughing and hyperventilate every time you’re under pressure, keeping things under wraps is a hard task. 
 
When the future of her beloved Civic Hall is threatened Samantha must rise to the challenge to ensure its survival. 
 
Constantly scrutinised and criticised by her zany sister Cleo and her brogue wearing boyfriend Jeremy, can Samantha save her job, save the Civic Hall and stop her panic attacks just long enough to give away her heart?”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank Janice from Loveahappyending for sending me this eBook to read and give an honest review. If you are a regular reader of Me, My Books and I you will know that I’m a big fan of Mandy’s books so I really couldn’t wait to get started on this one – from the blurb it sounded like another hit and I’m pleased to say that it most definitely was!

Getting to know Samantha was interesting for me because I seemed to have quite a few things in common with her – organised, liked her own company, not interested in shopping (unless it involved books) and most of all completely tongue-tied when trying to have a conversation with someone.  There were times when her awkwardness and spectacular meltdowns made me cringe, especially as I could totally understand how she felt.  I liked being able to relate to the main character in this way though because it made it so easy to jump into the storyline.

At twenty-four years old Samantha’s sex life surprised me, this side of things was a real source of fascination for me and I loved how the author described her feelings on the issue.

The first time Samantha and Jimmy Lloyd met was rather amusing and soon led to more uncomfortable scenes for Samantha. Jimmy made her very nervous and the result was a mixture of awkward conversations and funny situations that entertained me throughout.  Jimmy was a wonderful character who was super easy to develop a crush on, the way he handled Samantha was particularly endearing.  The romance that followed was gentle yet exciting and kept me flicking through the pages to see if it would end how I hoped it would.

When Samantha’s world seemed to be crashing down around her I must admit that I expected her to react differently but I really admired the way she dealt with it all.  A scene involving a wedding dress mannequin and a key was a particular favourite of mine so look out for that when you read this book.

As I have come to expect from Mandy’s writing I was utterly captivated from start to finish, she has the wonderful ability to draw the reader into the story and make you feel part of it – I just didn’t want it to end!

This was a heart-warming read that left me smiling.

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Made In Nashville by Mandy Baggot

Made in nashville
Published by Harper Impulse in February 2014.

“An on-stage attack left Honor Blackwood with more scars than just the one on her face. It’s been ten years since she left her spot as Nashville’s brightest country music star. Is now the time to return? And is she brave enough to do it?

Country rebel and rock star, Jared ‘Jed’ Marshall is hot property on the Tennessee music scene in more ways than one. He’s wild, he’s sexy and everybody wants a piece of him. But when he sets his sights on Honor, is it pure attraction or just distraction on his mind?

Honor’s record label sign the ex-boyfriend that dumped her and suddenly going back to her old life is harder than she thought. And when a secret from the past becomes public knowledge it’s no longer just about the music… Are all the people in her life lying to her to get what they want?

Join the country scene to find out!”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank the author for sending me this eBook to read and give an honest review.  I’m a big fan of Mandy’s writing (reviews here) and I always look forward to her new releases, this was no exception and I’m pleased to say that it did not disappoint!

I quickly found myself lost in the storyline, Mandy’s words pulled me in and wouldn’t let go.  The first couple of pages were so intriguing that I just needed to know exactly what had happened to Honor. The intrigue continued throughout as the many twists and turns kept me glued to the pages.

I wasn’t sure if I liked Jed to begin with but it didn’t take long to fall in love with him and his passion for music.  I really enjoyed reading from his point of view, when it became clear that he was keeping a big secret from his past I came up with all sorts of scenarios!

Honor seemed so sad and broken at the start and I was keen to see how, or if, she would be able to put herself back together. Everything seemed to happen very naturally, particularly Jed and Honor’s relationship which was intense but so beautifully written.  The sexual tension between the two of them was hot and felt incredibly real.

The musical side of the storyline was fantastic, especially the touching lyrics which I really enjoyed.  As I was reading I could almost hear the angelic voice of Honor and sexy voice of Jed in my mind – Mandy really brought these characters to life for me!

I was hit by surprise after surprise, particularly towards the end of the book and as always with Mandy’s books it was such a pleasure to read, before I knew it I was reading the epilogue (which I absolutely loved by the way).  

This was a romantic, musical treat with an edge of mystery – another Mandy Baggot masterpiece!

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It Felt Like a Kiss – Sarra Manning

it felt like a kiss

Meet Ellie Cohen, one of the most perfect girls in London.

Ellie manages a swank Mayfair gallery, but it’s her life that’s a real work of art. Great job, really good hair, loyal friends, loving family. It’s only her succession of lame duck boyfriends that ruin the picture.

Oh, and the world-famous rock-star father she’s never met, who won’t even acknowledge her existence.

Then Ellie’s perfect life is smashed to pieces when her secret is sold to the highest bidder and her name, face (and pictures of her bottom) are splashed across the tabloids. Suddenly everyone thinks she’s a gold-digging, sex-crazy, famewhore.

Enter David Gold. Charming and handsome David Gold. On paper he’s even more perfect than Ellie, if only he wasn’t her father’s ruthlessly ambitious lawyer whose job is to manage the crisis – and her. He certainly doesn’t think that Ellie’s the innocent party and she doesn’t trust him at all. So why is it that every time they’re alone together, damage limitation is the last thing on their minds?”

Firstly I’d like to thank Madeline from Transworld Books for sending me an uncorrected proof copy to read and give an honest review.  I’m a big fan of Sarra Manning’s writing (my reviews can be found here) so I was extremely excited to receive her latest adult book and couldn’t wait to get started! When I realised that there were characters from a previous book included in the storyline I was even more excited about it.

The story began in Camden, London 1986 and this was something I hadn’t expected after reading the blurb.  Chapter one was also set in Camden but in the present day – it continued to switch between the two dates throughout the book and it didn’t take long for me to figure out the significance of it.

Getting the low-down on Ellie’s dating history made interesting reading and I enjoyed the moment that her flatmates, Tess and Lola, told her in a brutally honest way that she only seems to date ‘lame ducks’.  An eventful weekend at Glastonbury was the beginning of Ellie’s nightmare – I really liked Ellie so I found myself feeling incredibly sorry for her as she continuously seemed to get kicked in the teeth.

When David Gold was thrown into the equation I couldn’t wait to see how he and Ellie would manage to work together, especially seeing as they didn’t seem to get on very well.  Their banter was so entertaining and I would have loved to have read from David’s perspective because I often found myself wondering what he was thinking.

There were so many great parts of this book but some of my favourite moments included: a penis infestation at the art gallery, an ingenious escape from a hotel, an unexpected guest at a family dinner, a heated argument on the heath and a difficult TV appearance.  I also loved Ellie’s trip to Paris, the descriptions of everything were written so beautifully that I felt like I was there with her!

Towards the end there was a surprising turn of events that only succeeded in hurting Ellie even more, by this point I was feeling very protective of her character and wanted to jump into the book and sort it all out for her.

As always the writing was engaging and pulled me in with the humorous style that I have come to expect and love from this author, I found myself laughing out loud on many occasions and I felt sad when the book was coming to an end.

This was another fantastic read from a brilliant author, a MUST for all chicklit fans!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sarra Manning started her writing career on the music paper, Melody Maker, then spent five years working on the legendary UK teen mag, J17, first as a writer, then as Entertainment Editor. Subsequently she edited teen fashion bible Ellegirl UK and the BBC’s What To Wear Magazine.

Sarra now writes for ELLE, Grazia, Red, InStyle, the Guardian, the Mail On Sunday’s You magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, Stylist and the Sunday Telegraph’s Stella.  Her YA novels, which include Guitar Girl, Let’s Get Lost, the Diary Of A Crush trilogy and Nobody’s Girl have been translated into numerous languages.  Her first grown-up novel, Unsticky, was published in 2009, You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me in 2011 and Nine Uses for an Ex-Boyfriend in 2012.

To find out more about Sarra Manning click on the following links:

Website | Twitter | Blog

It Felt Like a Kiss was published by Corgi and can be purchased from The Book DepositoryAmazon or from most good book retailers.