Books and The City Goodybag!

On Valentine’s day, I was lucky enough to win a goodybag from Books and the City. I had this big plan to do a video unboxing of it, but sadly there have been some technical difficulties, so I have returned back to my safe haven of blogging. Hopefully the technical issues will be fixed for possible future videos, but I can’t wait any longer to show you what I received from the wonderful Sara-Jade and Team BATC. As you can see it contained lots of lovely books and goodies!
 
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There was several little non-b0ok goodies. We have BATC branded lip balm and postcards, tissues (needed for a few of these books!), a pencil, a cute notepad and most amazingly a lip balm and lip scrub set that is flavoured ‘Cherry Cola Kisses’ and I am addicted to Cherry Coke, so this is perfect for me!
 
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Now onto the beautiful books! 

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A Song For Tomorrow by Alice Peterson
Tom fell in love with Alice the moment he saw her. He realises that being with her will not be easy, but she is a force of nature, a burst of sunlight in his otherwise ordinary world.
 
Some people might look at Alice and think she has everything, but Alice knows she is not like other women. Her life is complicated, unpredictable, difficult. Alice does not like pity. All she wants to do, has ever wanted to do, is sing.
 
Alice has been told not to follow her dreams. So has Tom. But when fate has already dealt a tough hand, it’s time to stop listening to everyone else and only follow their hearts.
 
I’ve recently read this as I was lucky enough to receive an ARC. Absolutely fantastic, I will be very surprised if this doesn’t star in my top 10 books this year. It’s such an inspirational and emotional book.
 
The Queen of Wishful Thinking by Milly Johnson – Released 9th March 2017
 
When Lewis Harley has a health scare in his early forties, he takes it as a wake-up call. So he and his  wife Charlotte leave behind life in the fast lane and Lewis opens the antique shop he has dreamed of. Bonnie Brookland was brought up in the antiques trade and now works for the man who bought out her father’s business, but she isn’t happy there. So when she walks into Lew’s shop, she knows this is the place for her.
 
As Bonnie and Lew start to work together, they soon realise that there is more to their relationship than either thought. But Bonnie is trapped in an unhappy marriage, and Lew and Charlotte have more problems than they care to admit. Each has secrets in their past which are about to be uncovered. Can they find the happiness they both deserve?
 
I started this last night. I’m one chapter in and I’m completely hooked.
 
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How Not to Fall in Love, Actually by Catherine Bennetto
 
Life is 10% planning, 10% design and 80% totally winging it… Join Emma as she guides you through How Not to become accidentally knocked up at the age of 27, How Not to unceremoniously dump the father of your child, and then How Not to lose the job that (even though you hate it) is the only thing between you and being homeless…
 
Hilarious and heart-warming, How Not to Fall in Love, Actually will make you laugh, make you cry, and will reassure you that perhaps your life is not that bad, actually…
 
I read this when I bought it on Kindle for 99p, and it was one of the best 99ps I’ve ever spent. Lots of fun.
 
Orange Blossom Days by Patricia Scanlan – Released 9th March 2017
 
In a beautiful southern Spanish town, where the sea sparkles and orange blossoms scent the air, the gates of a brand new apartment complex, La Joya deAndalucía, glide open to welcome the new owners.
 
Anna and Austen MacDonald, an Irish couple, are preparing to enjoy their retirement to the full. But the demands of family cause problems they have never foreseen and shake their marriage to the core.
 
Sally-Ann Connolly Cooper, a feisty Texan mother of two young teenagers, is reeling from her husband’s infidelity. La Joya becomes a place of solace for Sally-Ann, in more ways than one.
 
Eduardo Sanchez, a haughty Madrileño, has set out with single-minded determination to become El Presidente of the complex’s management committee. But pride comes before a fall.
 
Jutta Sauer Perez, a sophisticated German who aspires to own her very own apartment in La Joya, works hard to reach her goal. Then the unthinkable happens.
 
As their lives entwine and friendships and enmities develop, it becomes apparent that La Joya is not quite the haven they all expect it to be…
 
I’ve never read any of Patricia’s books before but this one sounds interesting, and the cover makes me want to book a nice warm sunny holiday, so I can have that book in one hand and a cocktail or glass of wine in the other!
 
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American Housewife by Helen Ellis
 
Meet the women of American Housewife…
 
They smoke their eyes and paint their lips. They channel Beyoncé while doing household chores. They drown their sorrows with Chanel No. 5 and host book clubs where chardonnay trumps Charles Dickens. They redecorate. And they are quietly capable of kidnapping, breaking and entering, and murder.
 
These women know the rules of a well-lived life: replace your tights every winter, listen to erotic audio books while you scrub the bathroom floor, serve what you want to eat at your dinner parties, and accept it: you’re too old to have more than one drink and sleep through the night.
 
Vicious, fresh and darkly hilarious, American Housewife is a collection of stories for anyone who has ever wondered what really goes on behind the façades of the housewives of America…
 
This book looks to be interesting, and the short story nature means it’s perfect to pick up when I have a short amount of time spare and need something swift to read!
 
This Love by Dani Atkins – Released 23rd March 2017
 
Sophie Winter lives in a self-imposed cocoon – she’s a single, thirty-one year old translator who works from home in her one bedroom flat. This isn’t really the life she dreamed of, but then Sophie stopped believing in happy endings a very long time ago, when she was fifteen years old and tragedy struck her family. Her grief has left her scared of commitment and completely risk averse, so she plays it safe and keeps everyone at arm’s length. Sophie understands she has a problem, but recognising it and knowing how to fix it are two entirely different things.
 
One night a serious fire breaks out in the flat below hers. Sophie is trapped in the burning building until a random passer-by, Ben, luckily happens to spot and rescue her. Suddenly her cocoon is shattered – what will be the consequences of this second life-changing event?
 
I loved Dani’s last book ‘Our Song’ so naturally I can’t wait for this one. I’m really intrigued by Sophie and this is another one for tissues I think!
 
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The Last Piece of My Heart by Paige Toon – Released 18th May 2017
 
Meet Bridget, a successful travel journalist with ambitions to turn her quirky relationship blog into a novel. But, after numerous rejections from publishers, she accepts an alternative proposition
 
Nicole Dupre died leaving behind a bestselling novel and an incomplete sequel, and the family need someone to finish it. Bridget is just thankful to have her foot in the publishing door. But as she gets to know Nicole’s grieving family, and the woman behind the writing, Bridget’s priorities begin to change …
 
OH MY GOD! If you’ve ever talked to me about bo0ks, I MAAAAY have mentioned that Paige Toon is my favourite author, just the once or twice you understand! I’m so excited to read this and catch up with Bridget from ‘The Longest Holiday’. I’m having an inner struggle whether to dive right in, or keep it till closer to the release date, and know I have that to look forward to…
 

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Chapter Samplers

There was three chapter samplers included of upcoming releases…

 
The Woman at Number 24 by Juliet Ashton – Released 20th April 2017
 
Welcome to number 24, a Georgian villa in west London that is home to five separate families and five very different lives.
 
Up in the eaves, Sarah finds that recovering from a nasty divorce is even more heartbreaking when your ex-husband lives one floor beneath you with his new wife. Their happiness floats up through the floorboards, taunting her. A child psychologist, Sarah has picked up great sadness from the little girl, Una, who lives with her careworn mother three floors below, but is Sarah emotionally equipped to reach out?
 
The Spring brings a new couple to number 24. Jane and Tom’s zest for life revives the flagging house, and Sarah can’t deny the instant attraction to handsome Tom. Having seen at first hand what infidelity does to people, she’ll never act on it … but the air fizzes with potential.
 
The sunshine doesn’t reach every corner of number 24, however. Elderly Mavis, tucked away in the basement, has kept the world at bay for decades. She’s about to find out that she can’t hide forever.
 
Love, rivalry, secrets and murder – all under one seemingly ordinary roof ….
 
I loved Juliet Ashton’s last book and this one looks to be equally as good, if not better.
 
The Betrayal by Kate Furnivall – Released 2nd November 2017
 
Could you kill someone? Someone you love?
 
Paris, 1938. This is the story of twin sisters divided by fierce loyalties and by a terrible secret. The drums of war are beating and France is poised, ready to fall. One sister is an aviatrix, the other is a socialite and they both have something to prove and something to hide.
 
I don’t normally read books set in the past, but this sounds interesting and the sampler is perfect to let me see if I can expand my reading habits.
 
Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan – Released January 2018
 
The novel centres on a marriage that begins to unravel when the husband is accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is sure her husband James is innocent and desperately tries to protect her family, but Kate, the prosecuting barrister, is certain James is guilty and determined to see him pay for his crime.
 
This sounds really interesting and deliciously dark, quite a wait till release though!
 
Thank you so much to Sara-Jade and Books and the City for this generous Goodybag! 
 

Monthly Challenge Catch-Up

Well, after two very good months of reading, this month has been poor in comparison, but I can’t be too annoyed as I’ve had a lot on my mind. Thank you to Suze, Tanya and Laura who have been such a great support through this time, it means a lot. Until further notice I am cancelling my monthly challenge, as things aren’t going to get any easier or better for at least a couple of months. This doesn’t mean I’m stopping blogging throughout then, nor will I stop reading, but I know my concentration will be limited so I don’t think I will reach 8 books a month.
 
I’ve read 3 books and listened to 3 audiobook and am a fair bit into another one. So actually on reflection, I’ve done a lot better than I thought I had, but that is only thanks to the audio books!

Books

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This month I started with ‘The Beast Within’ by Serena Valentino which was a fun read. Then to get into the Christmas spirit, I started on my Christmas books. ‘Mistletoe on 34th Street’ by Lisa Dickenson was funny and everything I’ve come to expect from a novel written by Lisa. ‘Miracle on 5th Avenue’ by Sarah Morgan completely took my breath away with how stunning it is!

Audiobooks

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‘A Summer At Sea’ by Katie Fforde was beautiful and summery, a complete contrast to the Christmas books I was reading. ‘How to Find Love in a Bookshop’ by Veronica Henry was utterly charming as I expected. ‘The Secrets of Happiness’ by Lucy Diamond was as good as all her other books, and had some really cute and funny moments!

Currently Reading & Next Few Reads

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I’m reading ‘Single By Christmas’ by Rosa Temple at the moment, it’s funny and Alex reminds me a lot of Becky from Amy Lynch’s ‘Bride Without a Groom’ (which funnily enough I’m reading the sequel of in the next week or so). Becky and Alex could be BFF’s! ‘The Affair’ by Amanda Brooke sounds fascinating and can’t wait to get stuck into it. ‘Does My Bump Look Big In This?’ by Amy Lynch is bound to be outrageous like the first book, in a good way of course!

Books I Received

The Affair by Amanda Brooke (HarperCollins)
Mistletoe on 34th Street by Lisa Dickenson (Sphere)
Mince Pies and Mistletoe at the Christmas Market by Heidi Swain (Simon and Schuster)
All I Ever Wanted by Lucy Dillon (Hodder & Stoughton)
Falling by Jane Green – Part of My Ninjabookswap parcel – Thanks again Jane!

Books I Bought

All About The Hype by Paige Toon
The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
If She Did It by Jessica Treadway
The Stranger In My Home by Adele Parks
The Day I Lost You by Fionnuala Kearney
The Missing Husband by Amanda Brooke
Searching for a Silver Lining by Miranda Dickinson
The Loving Husband by Christobel Kent
New Beginnings by Fern Britton
 

Monday Catchup 26th September – 2nd October

This week I’ve read two books to meet my target, but had to leave ‘Me Before You’ to sneak in between reads in October. Considering I had a bad week, I’m happy enough with that.

Read Last Week

 
When Ellen starts dating Tom, she neglects to mention that she’s a huge fan of the band he used to be in, because that just wouldn’t be cool, would it?
 
Ellen also keeps quiet about how she once spent an evening with Tom’s ex-best friend Jasper, her long-term celebrity crush. Tom doesn’t need to know about that, it’s all in the past.
 
Enjoyed this book, it was a fun light hearted read!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The thirty-first of October usually marks the start of the party season in the Benson Edwards household but, having recently lost his beloved cat Fishy, little Jack, aged eight, isn’t ready to celebrate.
 
When the rest of the Bensons and their neighbours decide to throw a Halloween fancy-dress bash in an attempt to cheer Jack up, however, not everything goes to plan as Mark and Ronnie play a ghostly prank which inadvertently sparks a local scandal.
 
By the time Bonfire Night rolls around, will their neighbourhood relations be up in in smoke? And will Jack have rediscovered his sparkle?
 
I completely forgot about this until recommended to me on Twitter (Thanks Laura!) when asking for a light hearted novella. Definitely made me miss the Benson’s even more!

Reading This Week

I know, it’s only a few days into October and I’m already differing from the reading plan, but I couldn’t resist reading these, and they’re pretty short.
 
 
Hear the tale of Beauty and the Beast from an unknown perspective: the Beast’s.
 
How did a handsome prince, once jovial and beloved by his people, become a bitter and reclusive monster?
 
Find out in this story of vanity and arrogance, of love and hatred, of beastliness and, of course, beauty.
 
Words fail me on how excited I am for this book. DISNEY!!!!!! They also have a Wicked Queen from Snow White book, and coming soon, one based on URSULA!!!!!!!!!
 
 
 
 
What if the sleeping beauty never woke up? It should be simple – a dragon defeated, a slumbering maiden, a prince poised to wake her. But when said prince falls asleep as soon as his lips meet the princess’s, it is clear that this fairy tale is far from over.
 
With a desperate fairy’s last curse infiltrating her mind, Princess Aurora will have to navigate a dangerous magical landscape deep in the depths of her dreams. Soon she stumbles upon Phillip, a charming prince eager to join her quest. But with Maleficent’s agents following her every move, Aurora struggles to discover who her true allies are, and more importantly, who she truly is. Time is running out. Will the sleeping beauty be able to wake herself up?
 
Again I cannot wait to read this, and the rest in the series, based on Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast.

Books Bought this week

Bought This Week
Once Upon a Dream by Liz Braswell
Falling Leaves and Fireworks by Chrissie Manby
Evelyn, After by Victoria Helen Stone
The Problem With Crazy by Lauren K. McKellar
 

Sunday Catchup – 20th June – 3rd July

Once again I have had a poor couple of weeks of reading, so I have wrapped the two weeks into one. I really hope I can find my groove again, if only to at least reach my goodreads goal, which was only to equal last years total!!

Read This Week:

 
After witnessing the fallout of her parent’s divorce, love has never been a priority for garden designer Frankie Cole. The only man in her life is her friend Matt–but that’s strictly platonic. If only she found it easier to ignore the way he makes her heart race…
 
Matt Walker has loved Frankie for years but, has always played it cool. Until he uncovers new depths to the girl he’s known forever, and doesn’t want to wait a moment longer.
 
Matt knows Frankie has secrets and has buried them deep, but can he persuade her to kiss him under the Manhattan sunset?
 
I liked this book, however it was a surprise how much I disliked Eadlyn, and while this didn’t ruin the book for me as I still enjoyed it, I was somewhat shocked as I loved her mother America in the first three books.