March, 2014

Mar 14

Secrets in the Shadows by Hannah Emery

Book: Secrets in the Shadows
Author: Hannah Emery
Available: Out now
If you enjoy this book you might like: The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
Summary: In 1920s Blackpool, 11-year-old Rose wanders away from her parents and has a unique gift bestowed upon her. One which will leave a haunting legacy. Decades later, Louisa has a vision of her mother walking into the sea. It’s not her first vision, and she finds herself spending her life trying to change the revelations that haunt her. In present day Blackpool, Grace struggles to understand her visions, and struggles as her twin sister Elsie plans a wedding with the man Grace loves. All three generations must make a choice – in the face of certain destiny, do you chase what’s ‘meant to be’, or throw away fate and make your own future?



Hi everyone,

Hope you had great weekends! I’ve been completely hooked on Hannah Emery’s Secrets in the Shadows – it’s one of my favourite reads so far this year, so I might gush a bit (sorry). I absolutely love novels where different eras intertwine and that’s exactly what happens in Hannah’s book. The book follows the stories of Rose, her daughter Louisa, and Louisa’s daughters Grace and Elsie. The plot seamlessly jumps between the past and present, and I found myself completely involved as each generation tries to make sense of the past generation’s mistakes.

What’s awesome about Hannah’s novel is that, although the women can see into the future, it’s not the main theme of the book. It’s obviously important, but the real focus is on the mother-daughter relationships in the novel. There’s a particular scene where Elsie overhears Louisa talking about the girls, and concludes that her mother loves one twin more than the other: it’s a really heart-breaking moment, and we eventually hear Louisa’s side (although I won’t reveal too much). Initially, when Rose disappears you are left wondering how she could simply abandon her daughter, but as the story progresses you get more of her story – I still wasn’t sympathetic but I was surprised to find that I understood her decision a bit more.

That’s what is so great about this book – the constant jumping from past to present means that you get the full story, but it’s not a predictable storyline. For example, when it comes to the love triangle that Grace and Elsie find themselves in, at points I thought I guessed what would happen, but Hannah throws in a few unexpected twists (I won’t tell you which ones but if you read the book, you’ll definitely see what I mean!).

This is a great novel about women and how mothers, daughters, sisters and friends interact. There isn’t a ‘nice woman vs horrible woman’ plot – all the women are flawed but it’s the way they try and overcome these flaws so that they can help each other that makes this such a brilliant book.

A great read if you’re currently trying to make some big decisions in your life… Also, if you were a fan of the TV show That’s So Raven, this is kind of like its more serious, novel-formatted sister.

Mar 14

5 Books to read this Spring!

Hi everyone,

Hope you’re all well and having a lovely week. As it’s officially Spring, I thought I would share 5 great books I think are definitely worth a read this season.

What have you all been reading this week? Don’t hesitate to let me know if there’s books you think I should feature!

Julie xxx


Bad Brides by Rebecca Chance


 Light-hearted and easy to read, Bad Brides is about two brides who battle it out to land Style magazine’s coveted ‘Bride of the Year’ tiara. One is Milly, a delightfully deceitful up-and-coming actress.  The other is the naïve Brianna, who isn’t sure whether she wants to marry Edmund, and whose mother Tamra is determined to climb to the top of society. Things get even more complicated when  an old enemy threatens to reveal details from Brianna’s past…

 The plot is fairly straightforward, making it a great read for a lazy sunny day in the park!

  Bad Brides is available from 27March 2014.  Publisher: Simon & Schuster


There’s More to Life Than Cupcakes by Poppy Dolan


I absolutely love to bake, so I couldn’t put Poppy Dolan’s novel down. The protagonist Ellie has it all: a job, lovely husband Pete, and a home. However, the rest of the world seems to think it’s baby o’clock. Between partying friends, redundancies at work and generally trying to work out what she wants herself, Ellie suddenly finds herself signing up for a baking class. There, she meets the young and handsome Joe, and suddenly she starts to wonder if she can make a decision without losing everything that matters to her.

This book is perfect for anyone who loves to bake when they need to relax.

There’s More to Life than Cupcakes is available now. Publisher: Novelicious


Waiting for Summer by Anna-Maria Anthanasou


When Anna-Maria Anthanasou wrote this love story, she kept it a secret from family and friends for 18 months, writing late at night and first thing in the morning. It was only when her brother found the manuscript that she agreed to get it published. The story follows Sylvie Sapphiris, whose perfect life is thrown into disarray when she suffers from tremendous heartbreak (Without spoiling anything, there’s a lot of stuff you seriously don’t see coming). She decides to take control of her life, but a second chance at love could risk hurting those around her.

The story takes a while to get going, but Sylvie is a very likeable character and you quickly find yourself involved in her journey. Great to read if you go on a mini break!

Waiting for Summer is out now. Publishers: Austin Macauley



The Perfect Affair by Claire Dyer


Anyone who has ever fallen for someone who they shouldn’t could relate to Claire Dyer’s book. Protagonist Rose knows only too well the excitement and devastation that comes with loving a married man. She watches as her close friend Eve falls for her new tenant Myles, both of whom are unhappily married. It’s not always the most cheerful story, as Eve and Myles’ affair is complicated and reminds them of what they’re missing in their own marriages, but Claire Dyer writes in a way that you don’t judge them for their decisions, but instead watch them as they try to make sense of their feelings.

A great read for a weekend when the British weather lets us down and you stay inside with a cup of tea!

The Perfect Affair is out now. Publishers: Quercus


Carry You by Beth Thomas


It’s only been a few months since she lost her Mum, and Daisy McIntyre is in a black hole she can’t get out of. She spends most of her days having DVD marathons, eating Jaffa Cakes and surfing the internet, with no time for friends or boyfriends. Her best friend Abby (who is an awesome character) decides that something needs to be done, and signs them both up for a charity walk, and suddenly, Daisy’s life takes an unexpected turn…

Beth Thomas lost her own mum to cancer at the age of 33, and the fact that she draws on her own experience makes the book a really emotional read. It’s beautifully written, and you really feel Daisy’s devastation.

A great read for a day spent in the garden – wouldn’t recommend reading this in public in case you get tearful!

Carry You is out the 24th April. Publishers: Avon



Mar 14

A brief update…

Hi everyone!

Hope you’re all having a lovely week and are as excited as I am for the arrival of Spring!

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while – went on holiday but I’m back now and promise I’ll have some exciting reviews up soon…

In the meantime, what are you all reading?

Julie xx


Mar 14

How To Get A (Love) Life by Rosie Blake

Book: How To Get A (Love) Life
Author: Rosie Blake
Publisher: Novelicious Books
Available: Out now, e-book format
If you enjoy this book you might like: The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing, by Melissa Banks

Summary: Nicola Brown is the kind of girl who double-locks the front door, leaves the plastic covering on new furniture, sticks to a super-strict diet and definitely, absolutely Does Not Date. Exasperated by her reluctance to have fun, her colleague Caroline decides that enough is enough, and challenges Nicola to find true love by Valentine’s Day. As Nicola steps out of her comfort zone and faces some disastrous dates, she slowly finds herself having fun…


How To Get A (Love) Life by Rosie Blake Cover (323x500)

Think of the worst date you’ve ever been on. Was it worse than being forced to go kayaking in the middle of November? Because that’s exactly what Rosie Blake’s protagonist Nicola finds herself doing when she agrees to be more adventurous in her dating life (even if that was way over the line). The dates in How To Get A (Love) Life can be excruciatingly awkward, but they’re hilarious. From a guy who won’t share a bag of popcorn, to a teacher who quite clearly has some unresolved issues with his career, Rosie captures worst-case-scenarios and turns them into hilarious anecdotes (Although I definitely hope I never have to go through one in real life).

That’s not to say that this book will put you off dating – there are some brilliant male characters. Nicola’s brother Mark is a smart, laid-back guy who is determined to win over the love of his life, and happily gets involved in setting Nicola up on dates (some of the most disastrous ones in my opinion). Then there’s Nicola’s dashing boss James, a potential love interest who is dating Thalia, his “nasty supermodel girlfriend with great clothes”.

It’s not too difficult to figure out where the plot is heading, but Rosie writes in a way that you find yourself actually looking forward to seeing what Nicola will go through in her search for true love. Even with her strict routine, you can relate to her as we’ve all had moments where we’ve been forced to step out of our comfort zone, so it’s easy to identify with her as she musters up the courage and energy to complete her mission. I did think she accepts the challenge fairly openly for someone who is supposed to be so close-minded to new things, but Rosie delves a little deeper into Nicola’s past so you get a better understand of where she’s coming from.

Because the plot is easy to follow and the book is broken up into Nicola’s various dates, it’s a great read for when you’re commuting.



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