Tuesday, 20 October 2015

It's Got To Be Perfect by Haley Hill

Paperback Edition, 352 pages
Published September 10th 2015 by Mills & Boon
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb: "Ellie Rigby isn’t holding out for a hero; she just wants a decent guy.

But the promise of meeting thousands of ‘likeminded singles’ has come to nothing and she is fed up negotiating the minefield of one online dating disaster after another.

In a moment of clarity, Ellie realises that she must take matters into her own hands. Her mission? Reclaim Cupid’s bow from soulless software and become a matchmaker. As her client list grows, Ellie becomes an expert. She knows twenty eight is the most eligible age for a women, that most relationships fail and, most of all, that it’s got to be perfect.

Until a match with one of her clients changes everything…"

This book had a lot of the ingredients that made me think I would really enjoy it but it fell quite flat for me.

Unfortunately from the very first chapter I felt incredulous about the main character. Ellie, a scientist who has spent her entire career working in a laboratory, has had a series of bad dates so on the spur of the moment decides to quit her job and become a matchmaker. Chapter two sees her headhunting for men and women in all the poshest/trendiest bars in London, with a focus only on those who are the most attractive or wealthy. There's barely a mention of concern about whether she will build a client base or whether she can afford to live in the meantime.

The main focus of the book appears to be on looks. Are all men and women really that shallow? The vast majority of the women in the book are portrayed as being interested only in how wealthy the men were or how sexy, very little was mentioned about personality apart from focussing on a few of the male characters who would make inappropriate comments at every opportunity or who would only brag about the size of their appendages and on how important big breasts were.

A real low point of the book for me was when Ellie held her first matchmaking party and all the singles start practically having an orgy in the club, with multiple mentions of humping and hands going under various clothing... I think you get the picture.

The characters also all blurred together, I had to check back in the book to work out who some of the characters were and had little interest in who they actually ended up with.

On the plus side, it did make me laugh a few times but I couldn't tell you what happened in the book that actually made me laugh.

I wouldn't recommend this one unfortunately. 2 out of 5 from me.

Friday, 16 October 2015

The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine by Alex Brunkhorst

Published October 8th 2015 by MIRA (first published August 25th 2015)
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb: "Family secrets. Forbidden love. And the true price of wealth.

Thomas is a small-town boy and when Lily invites him to a dinner party, he gains access to the exclusive upper echelons of Hollywood society. As he enters a world of private jets and sprawling mansions, his life and career take off beyond his wildest dreams.

Then he meets Matilda Duplaine.

Beautiful and mysterious, Matilda has spent her entire life within the walls of her powerful father’s Bel-Air estate and Thomas is immediately entranced by her. But what starts as an enchanted romance soon threatens to destroy their lives and the lives of everyone around them."

This is a really well written novel. There are beautiful descriptions which really brings the characters and their setting to life. It really reminded me of The Great Gatsby both in style and content. This is a great depiction of the upper echelons of socialite society with all of its wealth and superficiality. As Thomas enters their world, more and more cracks appear in the perfect facade of their lives.

Matilda's character and life are very mysterious and the story develops great tension as you read on engrossed to find out their family secrets. Who is she and why she never been allowed to leave the luxurious estate in Bel Air? Thomas is just as intrigued and as a journalist he can't help but dig into the past which causes trouble not just for himself.

The characters are really well developed and you can understand all of their motivations, although it does amaze me the lengths some people will go to for wealth and power.

I particularly loved the character of Lily Goldman, she was really intriguing and mysterious. I liked Matilda's character to begin with as she was quite innocent having grown up away from the outside world with only old Hollywood movies to keep her company. However, as the story progressed I found it hard to like her at times.

I did feel that there were perhaps slightly too many twists in Matilda and Thomas's relationship but they did work well and I liked the way the book ended.

This was a great read that really draws you into the world of those with more money than sense. I would give this book 8 out of 10.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

After You by Jojo Moyes

Kindle Edition, 411 pages
Published September 24th 2015 by Penguin (first published September 23rd 2015)

Blurb: "Lou Clark has lots of questions.

Like how it is she's ended up working in an airport bar, spending every shift watching other people jet off to new places.

Or why the flat she's owned for a year still doesn't feel like home.

Whether her close-knit family can forgive her for what she did eighteen months ago.

And will she ever get over the love of her life.

What Lou does know for certain is that something has to change.

Then, one night, it does.

But does the stranger on her doorstep hold the answers Lou is searching for - or just more questions?

Close the door and life continues: simple, ordered, safe.

Open it and she risks everything.

But Lou once made a promise to live. And if she's going to keep it, she has to invite them in..."

It was quite a surprise for me when I found out that Jojo Moyes was writing a sequel to Me Before You. Like so many other people I absolutely loved Me Before You and I wasn't sure if a sequel was a good idea when the original book was so brilliant. Now that I have read After You I'm really glad that Jojo Moyes wrote it. It was really good to find out how Lou was getting on after losing Will. It is set 18 months after the end of the first book and Lou is still grieving and her grand plans to live her life to the full have fallen by the wayside. She has fallen into another menial job with an awful boss and a ridiculous uniform. She has also lost part of herself as she no longer wears her fun outfits but is blending in by wearing jeans and t-shirts. It takes falling from a great height to start bringing Lou and her family back together. It was interesting to see how Lou's actions had affected their lives too. They also encourage Lou to go to meetings to deal with her grief. Lou meets a lot of interesting characters through these meetings, including Ambulance Sam who is dealing with his own grief.

This is definitely a book about coming to terms with loss and rediscovering who you are without that person in your life. Lou imagines what Will would say in different situations and knows she isn't doing as he asked but can't see how to change things. Then Lily turns up out of the blue and changes Lou's world in an entirely new way. Lily is the most annoying kind of teenager - completely self-obsessed, moody and selfish. However, there is more to her than meets the eye and her relationship with her mother is awful which explains why she is a bit messed up so I definitely felt sorry for her.

This book definitely has a lot of funny moments and some moments that were very sad, although it didn't have quite the same emotional effect as Me Before You. I wouldn't say you have to read it if you enjoyed Me Before You but if you want to find out what happens next it's a really good read. I would give this 8 out of 10.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Around the World with Book Connectors and Trip Fiction - Ireland with Carolann Copland

The Around The World Blog Tour is a partnership between TripFiction and #BookConnectors ~ bloggers and authors, travelling the world, through fiction.

TripFiction was created to make it easy to match a location with a book and help you select good literature that is most pertinent and relevant to your trip. A resource for armchair and actual travellers, it is a unique way of exploring a place through the eyes of an author. We blog, and chat books and travel across Social Media, and love to meet authors and bloggers as we take our literary journey.


Book Connectors was created as a place on Facebook for Bloggers, Authors and small Publishers to share their news.

We encourage book promotions; information about competitions and giveaways; news of events, including launch events, signings, talks or courses. Talk about new signings, about film deals .... anything really.

Book Connectors is a friendly group, there are no rules or guidelines - just be polite and respectful to each other.


The current stop on this tour is Ireland and today I have a Q&A with the lovely author Carolann Copland. She has also very kindly agreed to giveaway signed copies of her two novels to one lucky winner, read on for details on how you can enter below.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

I’m the founder of Carousel Creates, a writers' centre in the Dublin Mountains. I have a Bachelor of Education in English and Drama and have been a teacher for sixteen years. My first book, Summer Triangle was published by Emu Ink in October 2013, followed by Scarred, launched in June 2015 and a third novel is currently underway. I’m from Dublin, Ireland and I’ve also lived in the Middle East and the United Kingdom. I’m married to Neil and am a mother of three children aged twelve to twenty-four. Through mentoring writers of all ages; from all walks of life; I’m happiest when I’m sharing my passion for writing. I’m a member of two writing groups and I work to promote other writing groups in Dublin.

What inspired you to start writing?

I didn’t know I wanted to write until my mother told me to when I was forty. And I always do what I’m told. (Ahem!) But as usual she was right and I became addicted to the escapism writing provided and it very quickly became a huge part of my life. Now I wonder how I lived for forty years without it.

What is your favourite part of being a writer?

Mostly, I love getting an idea that makes the hair rise on the back of my neck and being desperate to sit and write it out. Also, the friends I have made with other authors and the privilege of sharing with other writers and readers just make life perfect.

What is your most recent book about?

Scarred explores the fact that time doesn't heal everything...

The main character, Rory Mc Gee, is obsessed. The man who murdered his girlfriend, Maria Dooley, must be brought to justice.

Ex IRA activist, now politician, Fergal O’ Gorman, is accused of murder on live television during elections, causing a media frenzy. Rory’s quest to expose the truth threatens to destroy the family he fought so hard to rebuild, and he’s dragging Maria’s daughter Shona Moran through the mire with him.

Rory needs to overcome his guilt about Maria’s death going unpunished. It’s a story of buried love and exhumed hatred where revenge can only be achieved at a cost.

Do you have a work in progress at the moment?

I have just spent the summer in Andalucia, writing a novel set between Spain in post-civil war years and modern day Ireland. I am deeply in love with all things Spanish and it was inevitable that it would creep into my writing eventually.

Was it important to you to set your books in Ireland?

Very much so. Both my parents are Irish and I have lived most of my life here so it was inevitable that much of my writing would be set in Ireland with Irish characters. But my travels around the world have meant that my characters and plots travelled to many countries too and my readers can savour the wonderful experiences that I have had.

What is your favourite place to visit in Ireland?

Mountains and sea are important to me no matter where I am. But childhood holidays in Donegal have given me a heartfelt connection with that county. My second book is set there and part of book three also.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I have a yearning to go to India. My mother-in-law was from Calcutta and my fourth novel is partly set there; based on the stories that she drip fed to me in the time that we spent together before she died.

What’s your favourite book you’ve read so far this year?

I would have to say it was a draw between Jax Miller’s Freedom’s Child and Louise Phillips’ The Game Changer. I’m new to reading crime within the last five years or so and both these novels were read in one or two sittings. That’s the sign of a fantastic read, when you can’t bring yourself to leave the pages.

What are you reading at the moment?

Martina Devlin’s About Sisterland. I’m almost finished and I’m loving it. It’s so different to anything I’ve ever read before. In fact it’s very different to Martina’s usual genre. I’m out of my normal comfort zone reading (it’s set about 100 years in the future) but it’s wonderful.

When and where would we most likely find you reading?

In bed. In the woods. By the sea. On the bus. In a café. Anywhere. Anytime. I go nowhere without some reading material (and writing material) in my bag.

How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?

Author Website: http://www.carolanncopland.com/

Carousel Writers’ Centre Website: http://www.carousel-creates.ie/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carolann.copland

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CarolannCopland

And finally, if you could meet any character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?

Alice. (Surrounded by her friends from Wonderland of course.) I’m besotted. Alice finds her way into all my teachings with children and recently she seems to be cropping up in my adults’ creative writing classes too. She is the most intriguing and versatile character I have ever met. I am fifty next month and I have treated myself to a beautiful piece of artwork by David Morrison entitled Alice on a High. That’s me!


A comment left on this post will be picked at random and will win a signed copy of Summer Triangle and Scarred (open to residents of the UK and Ireland only).

The competition will close on the 25th October at Midnight (GMT). Please make sure you comment with a profile, and not just as unknown to be counted, or please ensure that you include your twitter handle (if on twitter), so I can find you easily if you win. You will need to hit preview and then publish your comment. Good luck everyone!

Summer Triangle is available here.

"One terrible moment changes everything...

Shona and Majid are living very different, but ordinary, lives on opposite sides of the globe, when both their worlds are shattered.

Majid, who witnesses the death of his fiancĂ©, a bomb victim at an Irish/Saudi festival, is so distraught he runs from his problems – right into the arms of Islamic fundamentalists. Together his new allies and he plot to show Ireland exactly what they think of its cooperation in the US war against terror, but will Majid really get the closure he so desperately craves?

Meanwhile Irish teen Shona falls pregnant following a drunken party and stumbles through early motherhood in a haze of alcohol. An overheard conversation about her past leaves her wallowing in the self-pity of betrayal and ripe for falling into the wrong hands.

When 08/08 threatens to become Dublin’s very own 9/11 will a chance meeting of the two teenagers hasten their road to self-destruction or help them rise from the ashes of the past?

Particularly when there are darker forces at work…"

Scarred is available here.

"Time doesn't heal everything...

Rory Mc Gee is obsessed. The man who murdered his girlfriend, Maria Dooley, must be brought to justice.

Ex-IRA activist, now politician, Fergal O’ Gorman, is accused of murder on live television during elections, causing a media frenzy. Rory’s quest to expose the truth threatens to destroy the family he fought so hard to rebuild, and he’s dragging Maria’s daughter Shona Moran through the mire with him.

Rory needs to overcome the guilt he feels about letting Maria’s death go unpunished. In a story of buried love and exhumed hatred, revenge can only be achieved at a cost. But how much is Rory willing to pay?"

I'll be excited to read these in the near future and review them on here!

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Love You Better by Natalie K. Martin: Review and Giveaway

Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published October 1st 2015 by Lake Union Publishing
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb: "After a soul-destroying breakup with her ex, Smith, Effie Abbott has met the man of her dreams. She’s had the whirlwind romance and the fairy-tale wedding to the charming and suave Oliver Barton-Cole, and life seems firmly back on track.

Things were never simple between Smith and Effie, so when he forces his way back into her life, Effie knows he’s a complication she doesn’t want or need. After all, she has Oliver, a man who loves her better than Smith ever did.

But when cracks in her marriage begin to emerge and Oliver shows flashes of a darker side, Effie has to question just how well she really knows her husband, and whether Smith is back to derail her seemingly perfect marriage or save her from it."

Any story which begins with a whirlwind romance definitely is a warning sign in my opinion but Effie is really happy to have found her perfect man in Oliver, who is handsome, rich and comes from a "normal" family. The book starts at Effie and Oliver's wedding when they have only been together for a few months. However, cracks in Oliver's perfection emerge during the honeymoon which Effie brushes aside as a misunderstanding. I thought the author was very clever in showing how Effie was being drawn in by Oliver, how he affected her confidence and started manipulating and controlling her. This book definitely shows warning signs of an unhealthy relationship and I thought it was quite realistic in the way it showed how hard it could be to leave it.

Effie comes from a slightly disfunctional family and has a tense relationship with her Mum who is a bit of a hippy and moved them around a lot when Effie was young. This has definitely affected Effie's need for something normal which makes Oliver seem all the more appealing.

I really liked Effie's relationship with her friends Lou and Mickey and with Smith, who is a more complex character.

I found this to be really easy to read and engrossing. I cared about the characters and their relationships and enjoyed the story. I would give this book 8 out of 10.


I was lucky enough to be invited to a party celebrating the launch of Love You Better, which involved a lot of cake and some delicious cocktails. I was given a signed copy of the book to run a giveaway. A comment left on this post will be picked at random and will win a signed copy of Love You Better (open to UK residents only).

The competition will close on the 21st October at Midnight (GMT). Please make sure you comment with a profile, and not just as unknown to be counted, or please ensure that you include your twitter handle (if on twitter), so I can find you easily if you win. You will need to hit preview and then publish your comment. Good luck everyone!