Postbag

Postbox: An Updated Book Haul

A Monster Calls2017 is promising to be a fantastic year for new book releases, if my TBR pile is anything to go by anyway.

As I have not done a haul in a while, I wanted to blog about some of the fantastic books that my letterbox has received to review. I also haven’t been able to resist buying a load of books too (much to the boy’s complaints.)

The first book in this haul is A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (released by Walker Books, May 2015.) I kept seeing the trailer for the film adaptation of this book at the end of last year and it is this that brought the novel to my attention. The imagery in the trailer looked absolutely stunning and the plot looked really intriguing. I knew it was a book I had to go and buy and one I very much look forward to reading. I want to read this before I see the movie. This looks like it would be a story that resonates with a lot of people.

Connor has the same dream every night; the one he’s been having ever since his mother fell ill and stopped having treatments that didn’t seem to be working. This one particular night is different though. When Connor wakes, there is a visitor at his window. Ancient and elemental, it’s a dangerous force of nature and it is wanting the truth from Connor.

not so perfect lifeMy Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella was released by Bantam Press on 9th February. Becky Bloomwood is one of my favourite fictional heroines. However, I have a big soft spot for books outside of the Shopaholic series too; Can You Keep A Secret being one of my favourite books. This book looks as fantastic as you’d expect Sophie’s novels to be. The cover is incredibly cute and the subject matter does look very topical especially with Social Media seemingly taking over everywhere. This is currently sat on my pile of books to read (having brought it a couple of weeks ago,) and I am itching to read it.

Katie is living the perfect life. She has a glamorous job, a flat in London and a cool instagram feed. In reality, she rents a tiny room with no space, has to commute to a low paid admin job and what she shares on Instagram isn’t even hers. Then, to add insult to injury, she looses her job. Katie ends up moving back to Somerset to help her Dad with his glamping business. Her ex boss books in for a holiday and Katie sees her chance. Should she get revenge or try and get her job back? Also, is her boss living as perfect a life as she portrays?

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Review: Collection of Harry Potter Colouring Books

Harry Potter colouring books Harry Potter colouring booksI am Laura, and I am a Potter Head. I will never grow tired of these amazing stories. When I received these wonderful colouring books in the post for review, I was beyond excited. I love an adult colouring book. It’s an activity I’ve liked all my life and find relaxing (and can be for a lot of people especially if you have anxiety or have trouble relaxing.) I have found that people either do love them or hate them but I find colouring books can be really good for wellbeing and mental health.

I received the full size version of The Magical places edition,  the compact edition of the Harry Potter colouring book as well as postcard editions. It was hard to decide which one to try first.
The illustrations in these books are beautiful and really capture the greatness of this incredible world. The details within them are great and a wide range of characters and places are represented.

I decided to try the Hogwarts crest first in the postcard edition. What is good about these is that you don’t have to have a good knowledge of the colours. You can choose how you want it to look or simply (as I did) look up an example and copy the colours.

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Book Review: Smoke by Dan Vyleta

Smoke

W&N, 7th July 2016

Smoke opens in a private boarding school near Oxford, but history has not followed the path known to us. In this other past, sin appears as smoke on the body and soot on the clothes. Children are born carrying the seeds of evil within them. The ruling elite have learned to control their desires and contain their sin. They are spotless. It is within the closeted world of this school that the sons of the wealthy and well-connected are trained as future leaders.

Among their number are two boys, Thomas and Charlie. On a trip to London, a forbidden city shrouded in smoke and darkness, the boys will witness an event that will make them question everything they have been told about the past. For there is more to the world of smoke, soot and ash than meets the eye and there are those who will stop at nothing to protect it . . .

Imagine a world where sin were rendered visible by smoke; where evidence of your deeds and intents was visible for all to see. Large cities like London are hives of sin and corruption, wrapped in smoke and stained with soot, where the common people are forced to live in the thick of it while the very wealthy move out into the countryside away from the corruption and into the fresh air where their own smoke can dissipate.

The children of the wealthy are schooled in how to be mindful of their thoughts and actions so as not to smoke and it is in once such school that  the story starts.

Thomas is a young boy who until very recently was home schooled, until a powerful sponsor secured his place at a well-respected school outside of Oxford. On a school trip into London to observe the sinful city Thomas sees something which causes him to question the true nature of smoke.

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June/July Book Haul

MountI’ve acquired some fantastic books recently. My TBR pile has never looked so good. I wanted to share some of the titles with you.

Mount by Jilly Cooper (Bantam Press, 8th September 2016. Review copy received.) 

Rupert Campbell-Black is back!

I was so excited to receive this book in the post. Riders was such a guilty pleasure of mine and Rupert is the bad boy we all hate to love. He’s of course been in other novels but this is the first time he has taken centre stage for a while.

Mount sees an older Campbell-Black but is he wiser? This new book from Jilly brings together old and new characters and is set in the competitive world of flat racing.

Fans of Jilly Cooper… there is not long to wait.

 

The Lie TreeThe Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge (MacMillan, May 2015) 

This book was recently a pick for one of the subscription boxes I subscribe to. The cover is so wonderfully atmospheric and almost gothic. The plot sounds so interesting I just couldn’t resist buying it.

Faith is searching through the belongings of her recently deceased father and discovers a strange tree. The tree only grows healthy fruit if you whisper a lie to it. In return, once the fruit is consumed, it will deliver a hidden truth to the person who has eaten it.

The bigger the lie, the bigger the truth and the more people believe it.

This book sounds so ace and right up my street. I am looking forward so much to reading it.

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Latest Book Releases: 8th July 2016

The sisterIt’s time for another set of great book releases. I am looking forward to reading pretty much all of these. How about you?

 

The Sister by Louise Jensen (Bookouture, 5th July 2016.) 

This book sounds fantastic. I have already downloaded my copy and will be reading it as soon as possible. I like books with a twist.

‘I did something terrible Grace. I hope you can forgive me …’

Grace hasn’t been the same since the death of her best friend Charlie. She is haunted by Charlie’s words the last time she saw her, and in a bid for answers, opens an old memory box of Charlie’s. It soon becomes clear that there was a lot she didn’t know about her best friend.

When Grace starts a campaign to find Charlie’s father, Anna, a girl claiming to be Charlie’s sister steps forward. For Grace, finding Anna is like finding a new family and soon Anna has made herself very comfortable in Grace and boyfriend Dan’s home.

But something isn’t right. Things disappear, Dan’s acting strangely and Grace is sure that someone is following her. Is it all in Grace’s mind? Or as she gets closer to discovering the truth about both Charlie and Anna, is Grace in terrible danger?

There was nothing she could have done to save Charlie … Or was there?

 

WillowcottageSunshine and Secrets (Book One of Willow Cottage) by Bella Osborne (Released on Kindle by Avon 7th July 2016.) 

This has just got its Kindle release and is the second book to be released recently by Bella Osborne. I’ve got my copy and if it’s anything like A Family Holiday, it’s going to be fantastic.

Beth is running away. With her young son Leo to protect, Willow Cottage is the lifeline she so desperately needs. Overlooking the village green in a beautiful Cotswolds idyll, Beth sees a safe place for little Leo.

When she finally uncovers the cottage from underneath the boughs of a weeping willow tree, Beth realises this is far more of a project than she bargained for and the locals are more than a little eccentric! A chance encounter with gruff Jack, who appears to be the only male in the village under thirty, leaves the two of them at odds but it’s not long before Beth realises that Jack has hidden talents that could help her repair more than just Willow Cottage.

Over the course of four seasons, Beth realises that broken hearts can be mended, and sometimes love can be right under your nose…

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Latest Book Releases – 30th June 2016

Get EvenIt’s Thursday which means the release of some more fantastic titles.

Get Even by Martina Cole (Headline, 30th June 2016.)

Get Even is the latest from Martina Cole.

Playing grown-ups, the future is theirs for the taking.

Sharon Conway and Lenny Scott are childhood sweethearts. Everyone says they are too young, but nothing can keep them apart. Sharon doesn’t question Lenny’s business dealings and it isn’t long before his reputation as a hard man destined for the top means they are living the good life with their sons.

It leaves a stain on her heart for ever.

But one night Lenny doesn’t come home. It isn’t the first time he has gone AWOL. But it is his last. He is found murdered – beaten to death in an act of brutality that shocks even the police. And Sharon never knows why.

Old wounds will surface.

Now, twenty years later, Sharon is about to find out the truth. Such a crime cannot go unpunished. Revenge is long overdue. The time has come to…

GET EVEN.

 

Plumberry School of Comfort FoodThe Plumbery School of Comfort Food by Cathy Bramley (Corgi, 30th June 2016.)

This book was originally published as a four-part serial but it’s now the complete series in one book and it gets its release today. This book had me at its title.

Verity Bloom hasn’t been interested in cooking anything more complicated than the perfect fish finger sandwich, ever since she lost her best friend and baking companion two years ago.

But an opportunity to help a friend lands her right back in the heart of the kitchen. The Plumberry School of Comfort Food is due to open in a few weeks’ time and needs the kind of great ideas that only Verity could cook up. And with new friendships bubbling and a sprinkling of romance in the mix, Verity finally begins to feel like she’s home.

But when tragedy strikes at the very heart of the cookery school, can Verity find the magic ingredient for Plumberry while still writing her own recipe for happiness?

 

The Singles Game by Lauren Weisberger (Harper, 30th June 2016.)

SIngles GameFrom the author of The Devil Wears Prada comes The Singles Game and with Wimbledon in full swing (see what I did there… I’ll get my coat), it is the perfect book for this time of year.

When Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Silver makes a pact with the devil, infamously brutal tennis coach Todd Feltner, she finds herself catapulted into a world of stylists, private parties and secret dates with Hollywood royalty.

Under Todd it’s no more good-girl attitude: he wants warrior princess Charlie all the way. After all, no-one ever won by being nice.

Celebrity mags and gossip blogs go wild for Charlie, chasing scandal as she jets around the globe. But as the warrior princess’s star rises, both on and off the court, it comes at a high price. Is the real Charlie Silver still inside?

Sweeping from Wimbledon to the Caribbean, from LA to mega yachts in the Med, The Singles Game is a brilliantly entertaining romp through a world where the stakes are high – and no-one plays by the rules.

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Books I’m Looking Forward To Reading in 2016: Part Two

Falling by Jane Green2016 is shaping up to be a great year for book releases and I for one can’t wait for what’s to come (can anyone say Harry Potter and The Cursed Child?)

I wanted to share some more of the titles I am most looking forward to reading. What about you?

(Click here to read Books I’m Looking Forward to Reading in 2016: Part One.)

Falling by Jane Green (MacMillan, 14th July 2016.)

There is not long to wait for the latest novel by Jane Green (who is one of the most nicest women on the planet incidentally.) I’ve been a massive fan of Jane’s ever since a friend introduced me to her novels (I think the first one of hers I read was The Other Woman and since then, I’ve been a fan.) The sleeve for this book looks beautiful too.

Eight years ago, Emma Montague left behind the strict confines of her upper-crust English life – and rather dull boyfriend – and moved to New York City, where she immediately found success in the world of finance. But her soulless, cut-throat, all-consuming job has only led to another life she didn’t want.

Answering an online ad, Emma finds a tiny beach cottage to rent in the small town of Westport, Connecticut. It needs work – lots of work. But it’s the perfect project to satisfy Emma’s passion for interior design and gardening, if her new landlord, Dominic, is agreeable to the small changes she yearns to make.

To Emma, Dominic is also something of a fixer-upper. A local handyman with a six-year-old son, he’s a world away from the men she should be interested in, but he’s comfortable in his own skin, confident, quiet and kind. Slowly, over a shared garden, time spent with his son and late-night conversations, Emma finds herself falling for Dominic.

From friends to lovers happens as naturally as the changing seasons. But laying down roots doesn’t come easily when two lives as different as theirs merge into one. And Emma will realize that the seeds of happiness must be nurtured and cherished to grow into something strong enough to shelter all their hopes and dreams . . .

 

Three sisters three queensThree Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory (Simon & Schuster UK, 9th August 2016.)

I love history (especially the Tudor and Elizabethan era) and so this book looks right up my street. Also, just a heads up but The Other Boleyn Girl is going to be the book club title for July so keep an eye out for that.

“There is only one bond that I trust: between a woman and her sisters. We never take our eyes off each other. In love and in rivalry, we always think of each other.”
When Katherine of Aragon is brought to the Tudor court as a young bride, the oldest princess, Margaret, takes her measure. With one look, each knows the other for a rival, an ally, a pawn, destined – with Margaret’s younger sister Mary – to a sisterhood unique in all the world. The three sisters will become the queens of England, Scotland and France.
United by family loyalties and affections, the three queens find themselves set against each other. Katherine commands an army against Margaret and kills her husband James IV of Scotland. But Margaret’s boy becomes heir to the Tudor throne when Katherine loses her son. Mary steals the widowed Margaret’s proposed husband, but when Mary is widowed it is her secret marriage for love that is the envy of the others. As they experience betrayals, dangers, loss and passion, the three sisters find that the only constant in their perilous lives is their special bond, more powerful than any man, even a king.

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My Recent Book Haul (February and March)

RoomI love me a good book haul. Buying new books is one of my favourite things to do. Recently, I have brought or received so many lovely books. It was hard to pick which ones to feature (I’ve managed to narrow it down to nine.) Here is my selection.

Room by Emma Donoghue (Picador, 2011.) 

This book is not a new release but I am not sure why I haven’t got around to buying it until now. The premise sounds intriguing. Jack and his mother are prisoners in one room. I’m a few pages into this book and am already enjoying it. I am also wanting to see the film based on the book but I think I want to read the book first before I see it.

Jack is five. He lives with his Ma. They live in a single, locked room. They don’t have the key.

Jack and Ma are prisoners.

Room by Emma Donoghue is an extraordinarily powerful story of a mother and child kept in isolation, and the desire for, and price of, freedom.

 

Winter MarissaWinter by Marissa Meyer (Puffin, 2015) 

Winter is the fourth book in the Lunar Chronicles. These books are all based on well-known fairy tales. I have not read any of this series yet but having received this book for review by the publisher, I can’t wait to get started and Cinder is also here waiting to be read. The series sounds fantastic and right up my street.

Princess Winter is admired for her grace, kindness and beauty, despite the scars on her face. She’s said to be even more breath-taking than her stepmother, Queen Levana…

When Winter develops feelings for the handsome palace guard, Jacin, she fears the evil Queen will crush their romance before it has a chance to begin. 

But there are stirrings against the Queen across the land. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even find the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter claim their happily ever afters by defeating Levana once and for all?

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Book Haul: September (So Far…)

I do love buying books. I love it even more when friends give me books and that is what one friend did recently (I was a very happy girl.) I like the look of all these novels and I wanted to share these books with you.

Last HoneytrapThe Last Honeytrap by Louise Lee (Headline, 4th June 2015)

The first one is The Last Honeytrap by Louise Lee. I really love the look of this book. This looks great – a good, old-fashioned romantic comedy and I am really looking forward to reading this.

Scot ‘Scat’ Delaney is a world famous jazz singer. He has ample opportunity to stray and his girlfriend, Alice, needs to know she can trust him. Introducing Florence Love, Private Investigator. Florence has just ten days to entrap an A-Lister. Whilst sticking to her cardinal rule: One kiss, with tongues, five seconds – case closed. A master of body language, evolutionary science and nifty disguises, her approach is unconventional, her success rate excellent. But targets are rarely as beautiful as Scat. Never fall for the target. That is very bad form indeed.

View at The Book Depository. 

 

I Followed The Rules by Joanna Bolouri (Quercus, July 2015.) 

Followed the rulesThe book cover for this one is so lovely. The plot for this book looks great and it sounds as though it will be a great read. I am looking forward to reading this.

Rule 1: Never ask him on a first date. Rule 2: Laugh admiringly at all his jokes. Rule 3: Always leave him wanting more.

. . . wtf?!

Have you heard of The Rules of Engagement? It’s a book that promises to teach you to find the man of your dreams in ten easy steps. Unsurprisingly, I don’t own a copy. What is it, 1892? But I’m a journalist, and I’ve promised to follow it to the letter and write about the results. Never-mind that my friends think I’m insane, I’m stalking men all over town and can’t keep my mouth shut at the best of times.

My name is Cat Buchanan. I’m thirty-six years old and live with my daughter in Glasgow. I’ve been single for six years, but that’s about to change. After all, I’m on a deadline. I Followed the Rules and this is what happened.

View at The Book Depository. 

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Book Haul: Six Books with Beautiful Covers

I can’t believe we are almost in the middle of August already. Time is really flying. I thought it was time for another book haul. I’ve been sent or brought some great books over the last month and here are six of the ones I am looking forward to reading and six books where I love the covers.

Bright ThingsAll The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (Penguin, 8th January 2015.)

I have heard so many good things about this book. It’s been recommended on You Tube as well as friends who have read it and said that it’s good. It’s a book I’ve been looking at for a while and so I brought it. The premise of it sounds interesting and relatable in that it deals with mental health. I am really interested and itching to read this book. The cover is pretty too. It’s due to be made into a film so I want to read it before it’s released.

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the ‘natural wonders’ of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself – a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink. How far will Violet go to save the boy she has come to love?

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Book Haul: Five Books For June

It is time for another book haul. I have brought and been sent some great and interesting titles this month and I wanted to share five of them with you. The five books below have been sent via publishers. What books have you received/brought this month? I’d love to know in the comments box below.

 

IMG_1279The first book is The Astrologer’s Daughter by Rebecca Lim. 

I am loving this cover. This is the first book I will have read by Rebecca Lim (she is the author of the Mercy series) and I am looking forward to reading this book. It sounds very interesting. It is published by Text Publishing on 25th June 2015. It’s available in paperback and also as an e-book. Here’s the blurb:

The Astrologer’s Daughter is the story of Avicenna Crowe, whose astrologer mother has suddenly gone missing. Avicenna Crowe’s mother, Joanne, is an astrologer with uncanny predictive powers and a history of being stalked. Now she is missing. The police are called, but they’re not asking the right questions. Like why Joanne lied about her past, and what she saw in her stars that made her so afraid.

 

The second novel is The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon.

IMG_1280This book is one I am particularly looking forward to reading. It sounds very intriguing and I very much like the sound of the premise. It was one of those ideas that, when I read the blurb, I said to myself ‘I wish I had thought of that idea.’ Available in paperback and electronically, it’s published by W&N (18th June 2015.)

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Book Haul: Five Books I’m Excited To Read

I have a HUGE obsession with books. I have been sent some great books over the past few weeks and I have also brought a few new books too. Despite the fact that I have quite a large TBR pile, it doesn’t stop me from adding to it on an almost daily basis. You can never have enough books, right? It was hard to pick but I wanted to share five of them with you – five I am looking forward to reading and reviewing soon. Let me know in the comments if you’ve read any of the books below and what you thought? Do you have any more you’d recommend?

 

IMG_1277The first book is We Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman. 

I love Rowan Coleman. Simple. I am also adoring this cover for her upcoming novel. It’s beautiful. It is due to be released on 21st May 2015 by Ebury who were kind enough to send me a review copy. I can’t wait to get stuck into this book and going by the blurb, it sounds great.

The blurb… Do not miss me, because I will always be with you…I am the air, the moon, the stars. For we are all made of stars, my beloved… Wherever you look, I will be there. Stella Carey exists in a world of night. Married to a soldier who has returned from Afghanistan injured in body and mind, she leaves the house every evening as Vincent locks himself away, along with the secrets he brought home from the war. During her nursing shifts, Stella writes letters for her patients to their loved ones – some full of humour, love and practical advice, others steeped in regret or pain – and promises to post these messages after their deaths. Until one night Stella writes the letter that could give her patient one last chance at redemption, if she delivers it in time…

 

The second novel I wanted to share is Freedom’s Child by Jax Miller. 

IMG_1278This book sounds like such a roller coaster and it sounds so intriguing. I like mysteries (if you’ve not already guessed.) This is the debut novel from Jax and it is due to be released by Harper Collins on 30th July. I love it when books arrive with little surprises from the publisher. This review copy arrived at my house with a mini bottle of Southern Comfort which the husband will enjoy immensely.

The blurb…A heart-stopping debut thriller about a woman named Freedom, who will stop at nothing to save the daughter she only knew for two minutes and seventeen seconds. Call me what you will: a murderer, a cop killer, a fugitive, a drunk…There’s a lot people don’t know about Freedom Oliver. They know she works at the local bar. They know she likes a drink or two. What they don’t know is that Freedom is not her real name. That she has spent the last eighteen years living under Witness Protection, after being arrested for her husband’s murder. They don’t know that she put her two children up for adoption, a decision that haunts her every day. Then Freedom’s daughter goes missing, and everything changes. Determined to find her, Freedom slips her handlers and heads to Kentucky where her kids were raised. No longer protected by the government, she is tracked by her husband’s sadistic family, who are thirsty for revenge. But as she gets closer to the truth, Freedom faces an even more dangerous threat. She just doesn’t know it yet.

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Postbag: February

We’ve received some fantastic books already this month. We wanted to share a selection with you….

polly2Polly and The Puffin by Jenny Colgan.

As well as her latest novel, Summer at the Little Beach Bakery coming out at the end of February, Jenny has her first children’s book coming out on 26th February. Illustrated by Thomas Docherty, it’s available in paperback and as an e-book. It arrived beautifully wrapped with a cuddy puffin too.

About the book:

Polly heard a CRASH downstairs. Was it a monster? NO! Was it a spider alien? NO!

It was a little puffin with a broken wing…

When Polly discovers an injured puffin, she and her mummy look after him in their cottage by the sea.

Slowly, Neil’s wing heals and Polly must prepare herself to say goodbye to her new friend. Will she ever see him again?

(Little Browns Books for Young Readers, February 2015.)

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Book News – Julie Cohen

whereloveliesCohen’s new book due for release in July. 

We love Julie Cohen and can’t wait for her new novel. It’s called Where Love Lies and it’s due for release by Bantam Press on 31st July 2014 in hardback and e-book. 

About the book: 

Lately, Felicity just can’t shake the shadow of uncertainty that has pervaded her life. Her husband Quinn is the kindest person she knows and loves her peculiarities more than Felicity feels she deserves. But suddenly it’s as if she doesn’t quite belong.

Then Felicity experiences something extraordinary: a scent of perfume in the air that evokes memories and feelings that have been settled deep within her for a long time, untouched and undisturbed. As it happens again and then again, the memories of a man Felicity hasn’t seen for ten years also flutter to the surface. And so do the feelings of being deeply, exquisitely in love…

Which would you trust: your head or your heart?

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New Arrivals.

New and Upcoming Arrivals.

We’ve received some great new books here at Novel Kicks and they are giving us a very good reason to snuggle up under a blanket with a book and a warm cup of tea. It’s all about romance this week….

Liberty James

 

The Sweetness of Liberty James by Janey Lewis.

First up is the new release from Janey Lewis. There seems to be lots of romance which is good enough for me.

Sweet-natured Liberty believes the recipe for her own happiness is making others happy, and she sets about gathering the ingredients for the perfect life. She does well at school, makes glamorous friends and marries her university sweetheart Percy, the heir to the Radley Bank fortune. Now all that’s missing is the icing on the cake: a baby. When a traumatic event changes everything, she finds herself on a journey to rediscover her love of food that takes her from Florence to the French Riviera and finally back home to the Sussex village of Littlehurst, with a crazy plan to open her own patisserie. With flirtatious Fred the blacksmith and the dark, brooding Edmund on her doorstep, will she finally find that elusive ingredient: love?

(Published by The Book Guild – 27th March 2014)

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