Does My Bump Look Big In This? by Amy Lynch

Thank you to Amy for inviting me as part of the blog tour, please check out the book once you’ve read my review!

doesmybumplookbiginthisSynopsis

Newlyweds Barry and Becky are just back from their tropical honeymoon. The tans are gorgeous, and it was five star luxury all the way. But there’s a problem. Barry’s desperate for a baby, and Becky’s not quite so keen.
 
Surrounded by pregnant friends and a mother who’s talking about the ticking of invisible biological clocks, Becky starts to feel the pressure. When a surprise pregnancy rocks the boat, Becky’s friends and family are rooting for her all the way. Will she navigate the choppy waters to motherhood? Will she survive antenatal classes? Can she avoid stretchmarks, indigestion and her dreaded boss? And most importantly of all… does her bump look big in this?

Review

Last year I read and reviewed Amy’s debut novel ‘Bride Without A Groom’ which was over dramatic, in the funniest possible way. This book follows suit, as long as you don’t take it too serious, this book can be a lot of fun.
 
Rebecca and Barry are just returning back from their luxury 5 star honeymoon in Mexico, where Rebecca is not happy about returning to the banality of every-day life. Naturally she reverts back to her usual self-absorbed self, which makes me feel sorry for anyone that knows her. I think she is even more ridiculous in this book. I wouldn’t make some of her choices, it’s nothing criminal, more immature and at times very irresponsible. She is an exaggeration of everything you might find annoying with someone. Once I realised this (in both books) I had a lot of fun reading her ridiculous antics and selfish acts.
 
Again I felt really sorry for Barry, regardless of what he did in the previous book, he clearly cares for Rebecca and strives to please her. People have said that I have Simon twisted round my little finger, but that is nothing to how Barry is, I’m surprised his hair isn’t falling out (or maybe it has?!). You can see he would make a great father, and really dotes on the idea of having a child, and it’s charming to see.
 
This book is silly in the best possible way, something to laugh at, and almost certainly a light hearted look at what not to do when having a baby. I seriously hope motherhood tames Rebecca, but something tells me that it won’t!
 
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Gratefully received from the author for review
 
Order on: Amazon UK | Amazon US

Blog Tour Extract ‘The Affair’ by Amanda Brooke

Thank you to the publishers for inviting me on this blog tour, I’ve wanted to read a book from Amanda for ages and this one sounded a great one to start.
Order on Amazon: Paperback (Published 12th January 2017) Ebook (Out Now)
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“You might as well know from the start, I’m not going to tell on him and I don’t care how much trouble I get in. It’s not like it could get any worse than it already is. I can’t. Don’t ask me why, I just can’t.”
 
When Nina finds out that her fifteen-year-old daughter, Scarlett, is pregnant, her world falls apart.
 
Because Scarlet won’t tell anyone who the father is. And Nina is scared that the answer will destroy everything.
 
As the suspects mount – from Scarlett’s teacher to Nina’s new husband of less than a year – Nina searches for the truth: no matter what the cost.
 

Extract

By the time Nina was ready to face her daughter, Scarlett had turned her back on them and was inspecting the contents of the fridge. Gone were the days when her daughter looked cute in her new uniform. Her plaid skirt had been rolled up at the waist so that it was a couple of inches higher than the regulatory knee-length, although thankfully still longer than most of the outfits she was inclined to wear these days.

When Scarlett picked up a half-eaten bar of chocolate, Nina said, ‘Why don’t you try a flapjack?’

‘Chocolate’s good for you,’ Scarlett said, snapping a piece from the bar.

Nina tutted. ‘You do know that’s just a myth? There’s no scientific evidence behind it.’

Scarlett popped the chocolate in her mouth and beamed a smile. ‘I’ll take my chances.’

‘The flapjacks will keep, I’ll put them in a container,’ Bryn said. ‘They’re only a hundred calories each, and they have slow-releasing energy.’

Under her mother’s withering glare, Scarlett’s conscience was pricked. ‘I suppose I could take some out tonight for my mates.’

‘Out? Tonight?’ Nina repeated. ‘I don’t think so. Summer holidays are over and you have your GCSEs this year. No socializing during the week and only once at the weekend.’

Scarlett’s jaw dropped. ‘You can’t do that!’

‘It’s not open for discussion, Scarlett. That’s how it is. And by the way,’ Nina added, dropping her gaze to Scarlett’s hands, ‘when I told you last night to take off your nail varnish, I meant take it off. You know the school rules, and by my reckoning you’re breaking at least half a dozen.’

‘But, Mum, nobody cares. Everyone wears makeup and nail varnish, and the teachers don’t say a thing. If you’re that bothered, I’ll put nail-varnish remover in my bag and, if any of the teachers freak out, I’ll take it off.’

‘No, do it now.’

Scarlett shoved another piece of chocolate in her mouth before returning the remainder to the fridge. ‘If I do, can I still go out tonight? It’s not as if school’s started properly.’ In the midst of their negotiations, Liam had appeared like a spectre only vaguely aware of the world around him. Without uttering a word, he grabbed something from the fridge and wedged it between two slices of bread before disappearing.

‘I give up, honestly I do.’

Scarlett’s face lit up and she ran over to give her mum a dramatic hug. ‘Thank you, Mum,’ she said, scurrying outof the kitchen before Nina realized her daughter thought she had been talking to her. Nina was going to have to up her game if she were to avoid being outmanoeuvred by her children in the coming year.

Nina stood on the landing staring at two firmly closed bedroom doors, and as she listened to Bryn preparing dinner downstairs she could feel her frustration get the better of her. She accepted that they were all in a period of adjust- ment, but was it too much to expect Liam and Scarlett to at least acknowledge the efforts their stepfather was making, even if they chose not to reciprocate? Her marriage could be a great opportunity for them to have a male role model in their lives at long last, if only they would recognize it.

Liam and Scarlett’s dad worked on the North Sea oil rigs and lived a single life in Aberdeen as far as Nina was aware. His children rarely had contact with him and it had been a year or two since either of them had made noises about going to stay with him. Nina had been a lone parent in every sense of the word and, despite heroic efforts, there had been limits to the advice and support she could offer her children, not to mention time. Bryn could bridge the gap. He was bridging the gap, and while Nina wasn’t quite ready to drive the point home forcefully, she wasn’t averse to helping things along.

She tapped on Liam’s door and, after receiving no reply, pushed against the doorstop her son used to deter unwel- come visitors. The door opened only a fraction, revealing a darkened room thick with stale air. A flicker of blue light suggested Liam was using some form of electronic device to communicate with his virtual world.

‘Liam?’

When she received a grunt in response, she asked, ‘How was your first day back?’

‘Fine.’

‘Dinner won’t be long. Bryn’s trying out a new recipe.’

Nina hadn’t posed a question so received no answer or acknowledgement.

‘Have you made plans for the weekend?’ she continued, and although it was a question this time, an answer wasn’t necessary. If Liam had friends outside school, they rarely met, not in the real world at least. ‘Sarah’s suggested we all go out for Sunday lunch. I’d like us all to go.’

There was a hiss of annoyance, but not an outright refusal.

‘OK?’ she asked.

‘OK, Mum. Is that all?’

‘Great, lovely. I’m so looking forward to having quality time with my family,’ she muttered under her breath as she closed the door and turned her attention towards Scarlett’s room.

 
This book is truly fantastic, and one you should definitely check out.
A review will be up very shortly and check out the other bloggers on this tour!
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Blog Tour – We’ll Always Have Paris by Sue Watson

Thank you to the publisher and Sue for letting me take part in the blog tour, check the poster at the bottom to follow other fab bloggers’ stops on the tour!

wellalwayshaveparisSynopsis

When she was almost seventeen, Rosie Draper locked eyes with a charismatic student called Peter during their first week at art college, changing the course of her life forever.
 
Now, on the cusp of sixty-five and recently widowed, Rosie is slowly coming to terms with a new future. And after a chance encounter with Peter, forty-seven years later, they both begin to wonder ‘what if’ . . .
 
 
 
 
 

Review

While I’ve never read any of Sue’s previous books before, in a similar fashion to many authors that are ‘new to me’, I have several waiting for me on my kindle. When offered the chance to read and review Sue’s new book, it sounded too good to resist.
 
The book opens with a real heart-wrenching chapter about Mike, his final moments, and the realisation for Rosie that it’s all coming to an end. It’s so sad to read her hurried thoughts while on the hunt for pineapple yoghurts, It’s also heart breaking to read that despite loving Mike, he wasn’t the love of her life. Though if he had been, this would perhaps been the shortest adult book on record.
 
After the prologue we pick back up 1 year after, and Rosie is still grieving and coming to terms with her loss. She decides to take the first big step though, and return to work in the flower shop she owns and runs with her daughters. Despite Mike not being the love of Rosie’s life, you do get the feeling that she really did love him and need him by the way she feels after he has gone, she doesn’t move in haste.
 
Getting  to know Rosie throughout the book was an absolute pleasure, I was mildly worried I wouldn’t relate or connect with her because of her age (this occasionally happens in YA and other books where I’ve read someone who’s much older. This was unfounded, I connected with her and got her point of view. I was so happy when she started finding her old self and her spark again. Understandably she took a long time to grieve over Mike, who wouldn’t, he was her rock, but it took meeting Peter gain after 40 years for her to realise that she has a life of her own. Also showing that while she is a big part of her family, she can have the best of both worlds, finding time for her daughters and grandchildren, but also herself as well.
 
Anna, the eldest of Rosie’s children, is a hard one to figure out. She does so much that is dislikable, but its clear to me she can’t help it. It doesn’t seem her nature to be mean, but she is clearly one of life’s worriers, and it only makes her see the worst in every situation. I can completely sympathise with that, and while her treatment of her mother, was over protective at best, but came across as mean (Rosie was right to feel peeved at Anna), I am also one of life’s worriers, so I’m not sure that how I would react, if a similar situation was to happen to me. When I get worried and anxious about something, I can only see bad outcomes at times, it sometimes leads me to reasoning that, shall we say, isn’t particularly the most sensible of trains of thought.
I think Rosie has an amazing head on her for coping and dealing with this situation. I would have probably been more hot headed in her situation.
 
Peter, what to say?! I normally read about male suitors who are dreamy and perfect and handsome, and while Peter was incredibly charming, I was never under the impression that I would fancy him on looks alone, and that is due to age. That said, it was interesting reading someone that could be a suitor for my mother (if she was single of course). 
During the flashbacks to when Rosie first met Peter (or Pierre) it was incredibly easy to see why Rosie fell in love. He seemed cooler and more grown up than her, especially with Rosie’s strict upbringing, it was inevitable that he would seem exotic and cool and it completely ties in with how I felt about an ex that I had at a similar age to Rosie.
Grown up Peter though is, as I said, charming. At times however he can seem selfish as he doesn’t really ‘get’ children and their ‘bonds’ even when fully grown up (and that’s understandable) but just as Rosie grows, so does Peter. Which goes to show you’re never too old to grow and improve as a person.
 
This book isn’t just a romance. Naturally that’s a fairly big part of it, but it’s about finding yourself and being true to yourself. About doing things, just for you and not because you think other people expect or want that from you. We can all take lessons from that. Heart-warming and beautiful, this is a perfect read for just simply relaxing and unwinding after a long day.
 
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Published by: Sphere
Gratefully received from the Publisher for review
 
View Book on Goodreads
Order on: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository
 
(Click for a larger picture)
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Blog Tour Extract: Valley Of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann

I am so excited to be taking part of this blog tour, Virago press are celebrating the books 50th anniversary by releasing a special edition (with a  simple but beautifully elegant cover) and a blog tour to go with it. I cannot wait to read this book, so after reading this extract, make sure to look out for a review soon!

Extract

It had been dirty – and hot and crowded – the day she arrived. Sailors and soldiers joggled along Broadway with a reckless holiday spirit in their eager stares, and a convulsive, end-of-the-war excitement. But mingled with the dirt, humidity and strangeness, Anne had felt excitement, and an awareness of living. The littered and cracked pavements of New York made the trees and clear air of New England seem cold and lifeless. The unshaven man who had removed the ‘Room for Let’ sign from the window, after accepting a week’s rent in advance, looked like Mr. Kingston, the mailman back home, but his smile had been warmer. ‘It’s not much of a room,’ he’d admitted, ‘but the ceiling is high and it kind of stirs the air. And I’m always around to fix anything you want.’ She felt he liked her, and she liked him. There was an acceptance at face value in New York, as if everyone had just been born, with no past heritage to acknowledge or hide. And now, as she stood before the imposing glass doors engraved Bellamy and Bellows, she hoped she’d find the same kind of acceptance from Henry Bellamy.
 
Henry Bellamy couldn’t believe his eyes. She couldn’t be for real. In her way, maybe she was one of the most beautiful girls he had ever seen, and he was accustomed to beautiful girls. And instead of wearing the outrageous pompadour and platform shoes that had come into style, this one just let her hair hang loose, natural, and it was that light blonde color that looked real. But it was her eyes that really rattled him. They were really blue, sky blue – but glacial.
 
‘Why do you want this job, Miss Welles?’ For some reason he felt nervous. Dammit, he was curious. She was dressed in plain dark linen, and there wasn’t a sign of jewellery except the small, neat wristwatch, but there was something about her that made one certain she didn’t need a job.
 
‘I want to live in New York, Mr. Bellamy.’
 
Just that. A straight answer. Why did it make him feel like he was snooping? He was entitled to ask questions. And if he made it too easy, she might not take the job. That was crazy, too. She was sitting here, wasn’t she? She hadn’t just dropped by for tea. Then why did he feel as if he were the applicant, striving to make a favorable impression on her? 

ValleyofdollsSynopsis

Dolls – red or black; capsules or tablets; washed down with vodka or swallowed straight. For Anne, Neely and Jennifer, it doesn’t matter, as long as the pill bottle is within easy reach. These three beautiful women become best friends when they are young and in New York, struggling to make their names in the entertainment industry. Only when they reach the peak of their careers do they find there’s nowhere left to go but down – to the Valley of the Dolls.
 
View Book on Goodreads
 
 
 
Praise for Valley of the Dolls:
 
“As an adolescent I ‘borrowed’ a copy from my mother’s bedside basket of books without telling her. The Pepto Bismol–pink cover was irresistible to me, and the novel rewarded my curiosity . . . a salacious read I’ve revisited several times in adulthood.”—Laura June, The Cut, New York Magazine
 
“I marvel as always at the raw energy, the detail, and the grim authenticity of the book’s depiction of New York show biz society in 1945 . . . I grew up as a writer believing that this kind of bestseller was ‘trash’ . . . But I have learned from Jackie Susann. I have always respected her power.”—Anne Rice
 
“Jacqueline Susann’s questioning of glamour and fame, so unsettling in its honesty, crept into my head and stayed there, lingering for years until I was finally able to give it my own expression.”—Lori Goldstein
 
“Exciting news for all you modern Dolls (#squadgoals) and aspiring millennial readers . . . the story feels more relevant than ever.”—Micaela English, Town & Country
 
Valley of the Dolls remains a pop-culture touchstone: a gleefully salacious story of friendship, sex, backstabbing and pills (or ‘dolls’).”—Alexandria Symonds, T: The New York Times Style Magazine