The Teashop on the Corner by Milly Johnson

"Things will always get better. After all, when you've hit rock bottom, there's nowhere to go but up." 


Title - The Teashop on the Corner
Author - Milly Johnson 
Publication Date - June 19th 2014
Publisher - Simon and Schuster 
Format - Kindle Edition

The blurb

At her beloved husband's funeral, Carla Pride discovers that Martin never divorced his first wife and has been living a double life with her. And his other wife, Julie Pride, is determined to take everything from Carla - her home, her money, and her memories. 

When Will Linton's business goes bust he at least things that with the support of his trophy wife Nicole he will rise to the top again. But Nicole isn't going to stick around with a 'loser' and Will finds himself at rock bottom. 

Molly Jones is being bullied into going into a retirement home by her 'concerned' daughter-in-law Sherry and son Gram. Then the love of Molly's life walks in through her door - a man who broke Molly's heart into little pieces many years ago. But he says he is dying and wants to spend the time he has left with her. 

All people in need of a little love of compassion which they find by chance in the stationary and teashop on the corner run by the ever-cheerful Leni, a woman that site developer Shaun McCarthy finds annoying beyond annoying for her ability to remain unrealistically upbeat about everything. 

But is the world of Leni Merryman as full of rainbows and sparkles as everyone thinks? Or is her smile papering over many cracks that will soon be shattered unwillingly by her new friends? 

Becca's thoughts

The Teashop on the Corner by Milly Johnson was a delightful little read that was the perfect way to forget about the everyday stresses of life and kick back with a hot cup of tea and relax. 

Firstly, thank you to the lovely publishers Simon and Schuster UK Fiction for accepting me for Milly's latest novel via Net Galley. I couldn't wait to get started with this one, so I was very excited to start it, but then again, I'm excited about starting most books because I'm a very excitable person, haha. 

I'm going to be completely honest with you by saying that the title and the cover of this novel sold it to me before I had even set eyes on the blurb. I LOVE tea. I love teacups, I love cute little tea shops and cakes and all those pretty little things that you usually find in a tea shop, therefore the title The Teashop on the Corner and the cover image of that adorable lady serving cakes and tea with an apron wrapped around her waist was like heaven to me! 

So, The Teashop on the Corner is based on... Well, a tea shop on the corner, owned by the ever-cheerful Leni Merryman. Seriously, even her surname makes you want to smile! And within this tea shop, friendships are made and comfort is found. I adored this place and I spent the majority of my time whilst reading it, wishing that I had a tea shop identical to Leni's near me, so that I could take a walk there, settle down at a table with a good novel and order myself a coffee and one her bloody delicious sounding cakes. What I found made this tea shop EXTRA special was the fact that it was also part stationary shop, and not just any stationary, but stationary that was based on literary characters. It was incredible. There were scarves, handbags and all things cute and bookish, and I wanted to buy absolutely EVERYTHING. The entire novel revolved around this gorgeous tea shop, and I loved it to bits. The whole feel of the novel made me feel happy and snuggly, and it was one of those stories that leave you feeling uplifted and more positive about life. 

Within this delicious story were a multitude of warm, lovable characters who at one point or another cross each other's path, and it was fantastic to watch how Milly made their lives intertwine and collide with each other as each character's story unfolded. There was Leni Merryman, the owner of the tea shop on the corner. She was always smiling, always welcoming and happy, but hidden within Leni was a terrible secret that even I couldn't figure out, though I did pick up on a few hints throughout the novel as Leni's own story progressed. There was also Carla, who is actually the first character that Milly introduces you to. The novel opens with the funeral of Carla's husband Martin and instantly I felt so sad on Carla's behalf because what a grim way to open such a lovely looking book! But, just as Martin's funeral was coming to an end, Milly drops the bomb and the whole scene explodes with shock and confusion and I just couldn't believe what I was reading. I did go back and re-read it to ensure that what I had read was true, and it turned out it was. From that moment onwards, I was aghast for what Carla had been through. She was a gorgeous woman with Italian blood coursing through her veins, and from her chocolate dark eyes and curvaceous body, I had the image of a beautiful woman in my head, and I really couldn't believe what Martin had done. Bloody PIG! Will was another brilliant character that I began to develop a little fictional crush for, although his stupid, stuck-up wife was a different kettle of fish entirely. Will's business had just crumbled, and his wife leaves him because he can no longer provide the glamorous lifestyle that she wants and needs. I really didn't like his wife so I was glad when she left the plot early on and got out of the picture. I could quite happily of slapped her. So, obviously, Will needs a place to say. Quickly going back to Carla, seeing as she can no longer live in the home that she and Martin created, she purchases a big old house and plans to do it up. This house has a flat that she rents out because really, she doesn't need it, and that's where Mr Will Linton comes into. Will snaps up the flat and continues to stay there. Shaun was another character who pops in and out of the plat, who is taking care of the remaining empty units on the square where Leni has recently opened up her tea shop. Shaun had an awful upbringing and he rarely smiled, mainly due to those reasons. But Shaun can't seem to keep his eyes away from the new owner of the tea shop, who's constantly happy and bounding around like a new born lamb. I found Shaun to be quite miserable and unhappy, but I instantly felt the attraction between him and Leni, and I really hoped that something would happen between them to add a little light into both of their lives. Molly was probably my favourite character of all in The Teashop on the Corner. I absolutely adored her. Living in her big old house, she has to put up with constant visits from her vile daughter-in-law Sherry. I took a dislike to Sherry straight away. She was basically trying to get Molly out of the house and into a carehome and I felt like slapping her upside the head. Besides that, Molly also has another story that plays out alongside her, all to do with a long-lost love that makes a reappearance. I loved watching how this played out, and couldn't help but feel like I wanted Molly to be my grandmother. She was just so lovely and cosy. She'd definitely be one of those people that give the best hugs!

In The Teashop on the Corner, there are a million and one things going on. Milly takes you from one character's narrative to another, giving you a glimpse into each character's past and updating you on their present. It was fun, uplifting, and left me with a smile on my face after finishing. I adored Leni's tea shop, I loved watching the friendships and bonds forming, and I would love nothing more than to go and sit in a tea shop just like this one. It would be perfect! 

Becca's Books is giving Milly Johnson's The Teashop on the Corner a fabulous rating of five cupcakes! I loved it and I would definitely recommend it to any chick-lit lovers out there. If you're looking for a cosy, snuggly read, then this one would be it! 


***



    



Return to Mandalay by Rosanna Ley

"There's a promise I made many years ago, my darling Eva, that now I need you to keep."  


Title - Return to Mandalay 
Author - Rosanna Ley 
Publisher - Quercus 
Publication Date - May 22nd 2014
Format - Kindle Edition 
Pages - 560 

The blurb

Eva Gatsby has often wondered about her grandfather Lawrence's past, and exactly what happened to him in Burma during the Second World War. But it is only when Eva's job as an antiques dealer suddenly requires a trip to Mandalay that Lawrence finally breaks his silence and asks her to return a mysterious artifact of his own -a chinthe - to its rightful owner. 

As Eva arrives in Burma her mission soon proves dangerously complicated, and the treasure she is guarding becomes the centre of a scandal that will have far-reaching consequences. Caught between the loyalty and integrity, Eva is determined to find the truth about her grandfather's past, and of her own family origins, and of the red-eyed chinthe itself - enigmatic symbol of the riches of Mandalay. 

Becca's thoughts

Seriously, if you haven't read anything by Rosanna Ley yet, why not? Because I am telling you, she is SUCH an incredible storyteller, and I have completely fallen in love with Return to Mandalay, just like I did when I read The Villa. I've been hopelessly affected by her story, torn inside out, and I couldn't help but burst into tears when I turned the final page. Return to Mandalay crawled underneath my skin and shook me up, leaving me feeling a little breathless and at a loss for words. Rosanna Ley, you are incredible. I don't know how you do it, but you do it, and I love you for it. 

Luckily, I was accepted for an eBook copy of Return to Mandalay by the fantastic publishers Quercus, after I spotted the title on Net Galley and couldn't hit the request button quick enough. Ever since I read The Villa by Rosanna, I've always felt a little drawn to her stories somehow. I was completely sucked into The Villa, I remember walking around in a bit of daze afterwards and having this insane, almost obsessive urge, to jump on a place and head to Sicily in Italy, where her novel The Villa is set. This urge is still alive and kicking today, because I just want to SEE and FEEL the place where Rosanna brought her story to life. So anyway, when I spotted Return to Mandalay looking gloriously perfect on Net Galley, I knew that I had to have it, because I needed more of what the magical author had to offer. And boy, she knocked me for six with this one. 

Firstly, what an adventure! I'm being serious, readers. This was incredible. Rosanna begins Eva's gorgeous story in Bristol, England. More specifically, in The Bristol Antiques Emporium, where Eva spends her days repairing and restoring pieces of old furniture. That is until Eva's boss, Jacqui Dryden, gives Eva a task that could change the course of Eva's life entirely.

'Yangon, Bagan and Mandalay,' she said. 'That's where you'll be going. Ten days should be long enough. You'll have to take internal flights. I'll give you all the details in advance, of course.'

 From the dreary, grey skies of Bristol, Eva travels to Burma, where her world collides with another one entirely. Before Eva leaves, she is summoned by her grandfather, who needs her to do something very important for him. He hands her the chinthe that has traveled between both worlds and provides her with two addresses.

'Those addresses I gave you,' he said. 'That's where she used to live, before the war, you know.'
'She?'
'The person I want you to look for,' he said. 'I need you to find out the truth of what happened.' 

From that moment on, Eva becomes determined to find out everything about the woman that her grandfather is desperate to hear about. Return to Mandalay was beautiful, incredibly emotional and a story that will stay with you for a lifetime. 

What I found fascinating, besides the entire novel, was how Rosanna managed to switch not only between her characters, but between the past and the present too. It was brilliant, and such an exciting way to really grasp each character's history and life. 

A particular character that this technique worked extremely well with was Eva's grandfather, Lawrence. Just like Eva, as soon as this other woman from Mandalay was mentioned, I was intrigued. Not only was Lawrence a kind, gentle man, but his memory was still alive from his days spent in the war over in Burma, a time now long gone. But he has never forgotten a certain someone, and Rosanna perfectly took me back in time, to see things from Lawrence's point of view, including the moment that he fell in love. This switching backwards and forwards was just sensational, and it really allowed me to see the whole story from a number of key perspectives. 

Something that was obvious to me, as was the case in The Villa, were Rosanna's absolutely gorgeous descriptions of Burma. Oh my goodness gracious me. Rosanna has such a gift when it comes to bringing a place to life with words. Her imagery is spot on. Every tiny little detail is picked up on. The sunsets, the pagodas, the Irrawaddy River, the Burmese homes, the streets and markets. Every smell, sight and sound felt almost as if I was experiencing it first hand. I feel like I've been to Burma and seen, smelt and heard everything for myself. It's magical, each setting made incredibly real by the way the author describes them. God, she really is just amazing. You need to read one of Rosanna's novels to really understand where I'm coming from, because there is just nothing like her words to take you away from everyday life and reality. Pure escapism, maybe not completely chick-lit, but definitely something that you need to try anyway. 

Another character that played a major role in Return to Mandalay was Eva's mother, Rosemary. When Rosemary was first introduced to me, I felt an intense sadness on her part. Something had gone terribly wrong in Rosemary's life, that much was obvious, but she just seemed as if something was missing... Not only had she lost her husband Nick, but in the same moment she had closed herself up and I guess, in a way, removed herself from Eva and Lawrence's life. I can understand this because grief is insane, and works in so many different ways with different people. Rosanna did an exceptional job when describing the character to me, and whenever I thought of Rosemary, I just felt like she had given up on herself. The relationship between Rosemary, her daughter and father was one of many complexities, and it was incredibly interesting to watch out Rosanna allowed it to play out. 

There are just so many themes and ideas rolling around in Return to Mandalay, far too many for a mediocre writer like me to talk about without making a complete mess of things. Also, for you to really enjoy this story, you should experience the entire novel for yourself. I've mentioned a few things about the characters and how bloody beautiful Rosanna's settings are, but this is a fierce story of love, fate and separation. An journey so intensely moving that I'm finding it impossible to describe it with just my words. 

From Bristol to Burma, Eva follows the trail to the woman her grandfather never wanted to say goodbye to. I was choked up, to tell you the truth. Rosanna, I'm so sorry this review isn't put together very well, and I probably haven't made an ounce of sense either, but I just want to say thank you! Thank you for writing such an incredible novel that whisked me away to Mandalay. Perfection. 

Becca's Books is rating Rosanne Ley's Return to Mandalay with nothing less than five cupcakes. I'm getting teary eyed just thinking about it. DAMN! Just magnificent, I'm telling you. 


***





   

You do your thang!

I realise the title of this post is a bit 'swaggery' and a little 'hip', but I promise, there is an important message behind it. Just bare with me whilst I ramble on and on, and I'm pretty sure by the end of it, you'll get what I'm trying to say.

When I first started blogging, I had no idea that the blogging community was so freaking big. I mean, I just put Becca's Books out there and was like, "Yeah, no one will probably ever look at that." Little did I know, there were hundreds and hundreds of like-minded, book-obsessed bloggers out there, doing the exact same thing that I had just done. Absolutely tons! It was incredible. I remember speaking to my very first fellow-book-blogger and thinking, "Oh my god, THIS PERSON IS EXACTLY LIKE ME IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE!" It was brilliant, absolutely brilliant, and I have made so many fabulous blogger friends since that day I created Becca's Books, and it's something that I will be eternally grateful for.

But...

With so many book bloggers out there, with so many gorgeous blogs and friendship circles etc. it can sometimes get to a point where you wonder if you're actually making any sort of dent or impact on the world with your blog and reviews.

Is it just me, or can it sometimes feel as if no matter how hard you try, you just don't seem to get noticed? I know blogging isn't entirely about being noticed, but surely it plays a small part doesn't it? And no matter how many different times you attempt to change the layout of your blog, or the colour themes and fonts, that it just doesn't look as good as somebody else's? And no matter how many times you attempt to become someone's blogging buddy, no matter how many times you attempt to make friendly conversation, you just feel pushed aside, left out and worthless? Is it really just me who can sometimes feel that way? Please note: In no way am I trying to insult the blogging world, but I do feel that some of these issues should be addressed, because it's been mentioned to me a couple of times and I just feel crappy not speaking up about it. I see it every now and again in my Twitter feed, a person commenting on another persons review or blog, and suddenly that person is questioning why on earth they even started their blog in the first place, or they're thinking that the reviews that they write aren't good enough. And you know what? That's not fair. In fact, it's so not fair that it's shit, and I can't stand people who take joy and pride in making somebody else feel bad. I HATE IT. So, my lovely blogger friends, here are some wise-words from my perspective on you and your blogging.

You feel like your blog isn't as nice as someone else's?

Fuck it. So what? There are always going to be others out there who have beautiful blogs, and yep, sometimes it's probably going to be more beautifuller (I know, that's not a word) than yours. But are you honestly telling me that the reason you started book-blogging was to decorate a web page? No, I didn't think so. Of course, there's nothing wrong with having a pretty blog! But what I'm saying is, don't let it affect you! You made a blog because you love books and reviewing them, not because you wanted to enter yourself and your blog into a beauty competition, am I right?! The next time you visit someone's blog, and it's one of those gorgeous ones with the swirly flowers and curly fonts and pretty colours etc. just think to yourself, "My, what a lovely blog," and move on. Because trust me, a publisher may smile if you have a pretty blog, but they're more interested in your reviews than anything, so don't worry, don't panic, don't have a meltdown and hover your mouse over the 'delete blog' button in a moment of hysteria. Smile, move on, throw a compliment their way, and take a deep breath, because your blog is just as good, I promise.

Feeling like it's a little cliquey sometimes? 

I get that. Totally get that. I suppose you have to remember that a lot of the bloggers you know have been blogging for quite some time, and obviously they've made some friends along the way. Don't worry, that's totally normal! And you, you gorgeous little blogger, have your own group of friends too. Don't panic if you're not invited in, don't sit there and think, "Oh, well obviously I'm not good enough," because you totally ARE! In life, you're not going to be liked by everybody, and if you are liked by everybody then fair play. But the reality is you're not going to be everybody's cup of coffee/tea/strawberry milkshake. I know I'm not, and I'll admit that. I know there are people who could sit with me and chat for hours, but I also know that there are other people who probably wouldn't even bother. That, my friends, is life! The beautiful thing about that is this ~ accept it, smile and know that just because you're not accepted by those people, you're absolutely adored by others. It's that whole "one door closes, another door opens" thing. Don't let it get to you! You're brilliant at what you do, and you didn't start your blog to get acceptance from other people. You created your blog because you have a passion for what you do, and that is magnificent. So, remember, there will be people that will welcome you with open arms, and there will be people who will turn away. Just know that you've got your own bunch of bloggers right behind you every single step of the way.

Don't let the jealousy burn you!

I'll hold my hands up and admit to this one. I think it just basically stems from wanting to have and own all the books in the world.

You know when you're waiting on a book to be published? Not just any book, but that book that you've been waiting on for months? That you've gazed at longingly for hours because you just want to hold and caress it in yours hands lovingly?

And then you scroll through your twitter feed, and you spot that book in another book bloggers hands and you're like, "NOOOOO! HOW CAN THIS BE?!?!" Yep. I've totally done that. A million times, maybe even more. You begin to wonder where your name has got to on that publisher's mailing list? You start to question whether you're even still on the list at all, or if they just said that they'd add you and then somehow forgot, and now, you're left naked and book-less, crying into your desk? Okay, that's a bit over-dramatic, but can you see what I'm saying? I suppose, with this one, there's not really anything amazing that I can say to help you along, but I will say this.

Don't worry about it. Again, just like everyday life, there will always be other people who have what you want. The best thing to do, in my opinion, is let it be. I bet you sit there, eyeing your blog, wondering if the publishers ever read your reviews. You're thinking, "Can you not see how dedicated I am? Can you not see how much I LOVE the books that you publish?!" The truth is, it's probably not even to do with them noticing, it's probably the fact that they have hundreds and hundreds of other bloggers out there, requesting copies to review. Lovely blogger, one day, your time will come, and when it does, I want to see a picture of you with that much-wanted book in your hands and a glass of champagne to celebrate it. Don't forget, good things come to those who wait, and I'm betting that it totally applies in the world of book bloggers too.

You want to give up, you're not good enough, you feel like it's pointless even having a blog? 

HEY! Don't make me come over there!

It's not pointless, you are good enough, and if you even DARE to go anywhere near that delete button, I will scream this damn house down.

Because, let's face it, it's not pointless is it?

Does it make you happy?
Does it make you smile?
Do you grin stupidly whenever an author/publisher thanks you for your review?
Do you feel like you've got a whole load of stuff off your chest after publishing your reviews?
Do you enjoy writing your reviews?

HELL TO THE DAMN YES!
I know it makes you smile. I know for a fact that it makes you happy. And at the end of the day, you wouldn't have started if you didn't want to do it, would you? You've got to keep strong, you've got to know your reasons behind creating your blog. Yeah, it's awesome if it looks good, and has lots of view and tons of subscribers, but there's GOT to be love behind it, too. Loads of love and passion and excitement. And from the looks of things, you all seem to have that, so don't worry.


Becca says this...

DO YOUR THANG! 

You're amazing, talented people who have a love of books that blows everything else straight out of the water. As long as you love it, as long as you know you're happy, DO NOT let anybody else or anything else ruin that.

You're all brilliant. In my eyes, from the moment you all created your blogs, you took a giant step, and now look at where you all are. So that book that you really want? Don't worry. That blog that looks like it's made out of diamonds and twinkles? Don't worry. Feeling a little left out? DON'T WORRY.

You're unique. You're wonderful. And most importantly, you're YOU.

JUST DO YOUR THANG & SMILE!

Becca xxx
     

The Last Word by A.L. Michael

When the closest you got to affection and intimacy was with cyber fans who had no idea who you were, maybe it was time to reconsider your life. Or just say, 'To hell with it,' and get a cat. 


Title - The Last Word
Author - A.L. Michael 
Publisher - Carina UK 
Publication Date - May 6th 2014
Format - eBook

The blurb

Tabby Riley's online life was a roaring success. Her blog had hundreds of followers, and legions of young fans ardently awaited her every Tweet. Her real life was a bit more of a disappointment. Living in a shared flat in North London, scratching a living writing magazine articles on 'How To Please Your Man In Bed' wasn't where she thought she'd be at twenty-six - especially when there was a serious lack of action in her bedroom. 

Until she was offered the job of her dreams on online paper The Type - and gained a sexy new editor, Harry Shulman, to bounce her ideas off. Tabby had previous bad form when it came to falling for well-dressed, smooth talking editors, so no way was she going there again... ever! But had she got a little too used to hiding behind her laptop screen? Perhaps it was time for the real Tabby Riley to come out and have some fun! 

Becca's thoughts

Firstly, a huge thank you (for about the millionth time this week) to Carina UK for allowing me access to The Last Word and, of course, to the absolutely hilarious and incredibly talented author A.L. Michael. This novel was nothing short of a complete success, and I didn't want it to ever, ever, ever end! Come back, Tabby and Harry! *crys and crawls across the floor*

Everything about this novel was everything that I just freaking LOVE. Brilliant characters, hot, sexy tension and buzzing chemistry, a well put-together plot that progressed perfectly, and let's not forget that delectable cover. Not only that, but I began to feel like I was living in this novel alongside Tabby Riley and her two best-friends, Chandra and Rhi, and I felt completely and utterly at home. 

A.L. Michael's characters were superb. The novel itself was written in a third person narrative, all entirely from Tabby's perspective, which really allowed me to get to know her that little bit better. But, even though it was all solely from Tabby's point of view, I still managed to feel like I knew Rhi, Chandra, Harry and her mother Claudia like the back of my hand. A.L. Michael managed to convey the other character's emotions perfectly and I felt that I knew them just as well as Tabby, which was fantastic. 

Tabby Riley's character basically made up the sort of person that I would generally get along pretty well with in real life. I got the impression that the author had just put so much hard work and effort into creating Tabby and it really shone through whenever a description of the character or her messy past came up. From the clothes she wore to the men that she had slept with. A.L. Michael had thought of everything. Tabby Riley couldn't have felt any more real to me if the author had tried. Another thing that I really loved about Tabby was her negative but hugely funny outlook on her own life. The opening paragraph really set the tone and from that moment on, I knew that Tabby was my sorta' of girl. 

This cannot be my life, Tabby Riley thought as she finished her latest article. Four hundred words on the dire consequences of plucking outside your brow line. She needed ice cream. 

The comical misery-guts cloud that surrounded Tabby really made me laugh out loud, although there seemed to be an underlying reason behind her grey outlook on life. I don't want to completely spoil the novel for anyone out there who thinks this may be their sort of thing so I won't say too much more, but she's not just like this for no reason, I promise! I think Tabby's job also played a role in her negativity; writing articles about pleasing your man in bed and plucking eyebrows wasn't exactly her life dream, although she had tons of Twitter and blog followers who all loved her dearly because of her unique style of writing. Due to a mucky past involving an editor at her previous job, Tabby isn't planning on EVER making the same mistake twice. That is, of course, until the absolutely gorgeous Harry Shulman comes along and completely knocks her off her feet. I adored the chemistry between these two characters, and the way Tabby used all of her strength to not find him attractive or tempting in any way whatsoever. I was practically begging her to just snap, because I couldn't take the pressure that was building between the two of them. I totally 'got' why she didn't want to 'go there' though, especially after what had happened last time. What makes things worse is that Harry is an editor, just like before, and Tabby watches herself quickly spiraling into a very similar situation that lost her job and tarnished her name in the journalism world. When Tabby receives a job offer from The Type, where Harry plays the role of Editor, she can't believe her luck, although she'll be giving up her eye-brow plucking articles for things a little bit more on the serious side. 

Harry was bloody delectable! He played the 'tempting, green-eyed, delicious treat' oh so well. Even I was quickly falling beneath his spell. I loved everything about him, from his cocky smile to his quick-fire remarks that took him only seconds to think up. He was confident, cheeky and everything that Tabby really didn't need in her life, but with a job offer like that on the table, did she really have a choice when it came to working in the same building as him? Harry was the kinda' guy who knew he had a devastating effect on any female within his vicinity, and he couldn't say no to bedding a ready and willing woman. But, even thought he was a complete ladies man, there was just something so damn sexy about him, I was dying to egg Tabby on to make a bloody move! Beneath all the cockiness and sexiness was a warm, kind man who really just wanted a woman to call his own and tell him that she loved him. He was gorgeous! And I do not how Tabby managed to resist him for as long as she did. 

As well as the two main characters, Tabby and Harry, there were two other characters that really caught my attention, and held it too. Rhi and Chandra, Tabby's two best friends, were absolutely brilliant fictional creations that I really wished I could have a night out with. A.L. Michael got the girly banter down to a T, and it was just so entertaining to read, imagining the girls firing their catchy remarks backwards and forwards between each other whilst lounging in their living room, drinking countless cups of tea, smoking rolled up cigarettes and eating crap. That is basically my idea of a fabulous night! ;) A.L. Michael managed to perfectly present the girl's friendship and it was heartwarming and lovely and all things that friendships are. The author created such a fantastic connection between her characters; it was clear to see that nothing, and I mean nothing, could break these girl's bond. 

The plot in The Last Word worked so bloody well, and just when Tabby's life was beginning to flow perfectly, I remembered that normally, there comes a problem in the plot of a story, and I was sitting there, praying that the problem wouldn't come. That there would be no climax and nothing was going to knock over Tabby's fabulous life! But, alas, a story wouldn't be fantastic if nothing bad happened to the main character and created some action and drama. A.L. Michael achieved this and so much more. I was cheering for Tabby, I had my fingers crossed so damn hard, wanting everything to work out for her! It felt like she was one of my very best friends. Tabby also had a bad habit of ruining things for herself, so each time I read about her over-thinking things and leaning towards making a bad decision and ruining her own happiness, I was practically thumping my Kindle in frustration and screaming, "NO, TABBY! NO!" Honestly, if any character deserved some happiness, I reckoned it was Tabby. 

Overall, I loved this novel. I loved the excitement, and the banter, and the sexy tension and the way it all rolled along smoothly. The characters were bloody fantastic, the plot kept me highly entertained the entire way through, and I really do hope that A.L. Michael will carry on Tabby's story somehow, because I don't think I am quite ready to let her go just yet...

So, A.L. Michael, it's five yummy looking cupcakes from me! It was an absolute pleasure to read, and I do hope you have some more of that extra-special Tabby-ness up your sleeve! 


***





          

  

The Vintage Summer Wedding by Jenny Oliver

'One year, Seb. Don't get any dreamy ideas. It's not going to happen.' 


Title - The Vintage Summer Wedding
Author - Jenny Oliver
Publisher - Carina UK 
Publication Date - May 22nd 2014
Format - eBook

The blurb

A Vera Wang dress, the reception at a sophisticated London venue, and a guest list that reads like a society gossip column are all the ingredients of Anna Whitehall's perfect wedding that never was...

Spending the summer uncovering hidden treasures in a vintage shop, Anna can still vividly remember both her childhood dreams; the first was that she'd become a Prima ballerina, and dance on stage resplendent in a jewel-encrusted tutu. The second was that at her wedding she would walk down the aisle wearing a collective-gasp-from-the-congregation dress. 

Years ago Anna pirouetted out of her cosy hometown village in a whirl of ambition... but when both of those fairy-tale dreams came crashing down around her ballet shoes, she and fiancee Seb find themselves back in Nettleton, their wedding and careers postponed indefinitely... 

Don't they say that you can never go home again? Sometimes they don't get it right... This one summer is showing Anna that your dreams have to grow up with you. And sometimes what you think you wanted is just the opposite of what makes you happy... 

Becca's thoughts

Oh my gosh! I absolutely LOVED LOVED LOVED The Vintage Summer Wedding. ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT! 

I'd just like to say a huge thank you to one of my favourite publishers Carina UK! No matter what, I always seem to fall head over heels in love with Carina's titles, and The Vintage Summer Wedding by Jenny Oliver turned out to be another one of those beauties that I just couldn't leave alone. And of course, an even bigger thank you to author of this wonderful, smile-inducing story, Jenny Oliver. This is the first title that I have read by Jenny, and now I am completely convinced that she writes stories that are right up my street, therefore I will definitely be looking forward to and reading more of Jenny's work, without a doubt. 

The Vintage Summer Wedding is all about Anna Whitehall, who once had her life mapped out ahead of her, but is now floundering in the messiness and un-glamorous lifestyle of living in Nettleton, her childhood village. Having just returned to Nettleton with her fiancee Seb, after her dream came crashing down around them both, Anna is truly not looking forward to settling back in. The mud and wheat fields are nothing compared to the life that she once dreamed she would have, full of glam parties, expensive clothes and gorgeous shoes. Whilst Seb had managed to land himself a job teaching at Nettleton's highs-school, Anna has to make do with a job in the local antique shop; a favor pulled by her father. It's a million miles away from Anna's imagined life of becoming a prima-ballerina, but unfortunately for now, it's the best option that she has got. 

There were a hundred and one things that I adored about this title. A hundred and one reasons why I would gladly re-read it again and again and again. Jenny Oliver's writing style was just out of this world and mingled so perfectly with Anna's character. The entire plot flowed exceptionally well, leaving no holes or matters unearthed. It was like a patchwork blanket; weaved together beautifully and in the end, you're left looking back at something magnificent, something that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, which is exactly how I felt just after finishing the last few words. 

Anna's character and story within The Vintage Summer Wedding was marvelous. I loved every single little bit. Jenny begins this gorgeous title by bringing the reader right into the scene of action. She made Nettleton sound dark, uninviting and I was immediately drawn to the feeling of apprehension, that for some reason Anna really didn't want to be there. The very first sentence in the title made me imagine a scene like Armageddon; it was just so severe and serious sounding!

"They arrived in the dark in a heatwave." 

See? Right away, Jenny sets the tone of the story, making everything that Anna comes out with seem down-beaten and points towards her not being very happy about being where she is. Rather than setting the scene by providing all of Anna's history before the story begins, Jenny chooses to begin the story first and then provides the reader with tons of little bursts of Anna's history as the plot progresses. I loved this tactic so much and Jenny ensured that I kept reading and reading! It worked a treat and I found it almost impossible to put my Kindle down. At every moment, I was dying to know what was going to happen next and it made me feel exhilarated. It was exciting and interesting and Jenny included everything that a good story should have. 

When thinking about Jenny's main character, Anna, I have to say that I loved her. From the very beginning, Anna was full of negativity but, somehow, Jenny managed to hide away this tiny little spark of something else, something positive, beneath all of the moaning and whining. Thinking about it, I can kinda' see where Anna was coming from. Before heading to Nettleton, she was immersed in the city of London. She loved the thrill of it, the buzz, the business, the masses and masses of people stampeding the concrete day after day. And then suddenly, she was back where she started, after leaving Nettleton with a suitcase full of ambition and a warning to those behind her that she was "going to be a star!, she was back once more, with her tail between her legs. The contrast between Nettleton and London was so freaking huge, I could just imagine Anna felt like a fish out of water. She had messed everything up, she'd lost sight of her dream, and most of all, she wasn't a star. She was embarrassed at being back, horrified even, and when they pulled up outside of Primrose Cottage, I could just imagine the look of sheer disgust that would have spread right across Anna's face! I loved Anna's fierce determination but she was also a very stubborn and proud person; the pride being something that had been instilled in Anna, courtesy of her mother. I noticed how incredibly hard she found it to simply apologise to a person or to even give in. This did, truthfully, sometimes really aggravate me because trying to deal with a stubborn person can be so difficult at times, but there were certain reasons as to why Anna was like that and so her stubbornness and pride was completely and utterly made sense of. I found Anna hilarious, while other times I felt kinda' sorry for her. I rode a roller coaster of emotions with this character and it was fantastic. She was brilliant and smart, and I just couldn't shake this image from my head of a diamond covered in mud and dust. All she needed was a little dusting, a bit of a shake-up, and her shine would glow brighter than anything had ever shone before. I miss Anna now that it's over, silly as it sounds. She blossomed as the plot moved forward and it was just SO encouraging to read. 

Seb, Anna's fiancee, was ridiculously cute. Adorable, even. He reminded me of a big, cuddly teddy bear, who had such a good soul and would never hurt anyone or anything intentionally. I imagined him as a really good guy; one of those rare ones. But, the one thing I will mention about Seb is that he just couldn't man up and stand up to his own mother, even when he knew that she was going too far in her little tirades. There were so many times when I wanted to give him a little shove and whisper, "Grow a pair, Seb!" Besides the whole mother thing though, Seb was awesome. The couple do go through a difficult patch through the majority of the story, which really added to the realness of it all. After all, nothing and nobody is perfect, are they? I also got the impression that Seb worshiped the ground that Anna walked on. He was ready and willing to do anything for that woman, and even after they lost everything and had to return to Nettleton, Seb kept his cool, put together a plan and told her it was going to be okay. A man in control, eh? Nothing better than that! These two were lovely, and added such a warm, and sometimes comical, atmosphere to The Vintage Summer Wedding. 

Although it was a fun, summery and up-lifting read, there was just so much more hidden beneath the surface too! Not only was it all about a wedding, but it was about Anna's dreams and ambitions, her history with her mother and her outlook on life, and most definitely a few lessons that she needed to learn along the way. There was just so many things wrapped up in this beautiful story, I would be here writing my review all day long if I were to include them all. But I will say that it made me grin an incredible amount of times, and there were moments too, where I blinked the tears out of my eyes. It was beautifully written, with so many hidden messages and words of wisdom, including a myriad of characters that were fun and stupidly easy to love and smile at. 

Becca's Books is giving The Vintage Summer Wedding by Jenny Oliver FIVE gorgeous little cupcakes. It left me feeling all fluttery and happy and I would definitely recommend this to any chick-lit lovers out there, any lovers of  that adorable aspect of community spirit, of weddings put on hold, of childhood dreams and fierce mothers. This was just right up my street and I CANNOT WAIT to see what Jenny Oliver is going to come up with next. It'll definitely be getting added to my ever-growing to-read list, I can assure you! 


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Interview ~ Sarah Smith, from The Bookshop On The Corner

Wahoo! I definitely, definitely think that I should begin this post by saying a HUGE happy publication day to the absolutely fantastic Rebecca Raisin with her newest release that is OUT TODAY, The Bookshop On The Corner.


Readers, you will love this story so much, and you'll love the adorable Sarah Smith even more. Like us, she is obsessed with books, and unfortunately not like us, she owns her very own bookshop. Are you jealous? I am. I'm very jealous. Not only that, but Sarah's bookshop is the most adorable bookshop in this world, fiction or not. 

Today, Becca's Books is incredibly excited to share with you my interview with Sarah Smith. Luckily, I managed to drag Sarah's head from out of a book so that I could ask her some questions about her life and The Bookshop On The Corner. 

Without further ado, let's get started. Readers, I introduce to you the very bookish Miss Sarah Smith. 

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Hello, Sarah! Welcome to Becca's Books. I have to say, I am positively delighted to have you here with me today. It is a pleasure and I cannot wait to introduce you to my readers. 

Hello, Becca! It's so nice to be here, and a huge hello to your readers! 

1.) Sarah, for those that haven't heard of you, could you please tell them a little bit about yourself, including where you're from, where you work and what you do there. 

If you visit the small town of Ashford, Connecticut, you'll find me in my little second-hand bookshop, usually reading the day away... Though I like to think of it as part of the job description! Books seem to whisper to me: they want to be read and loved again so how can I refuse? There's a book here for everyone, it's just a matter of finding it. It's not an orderly, bright bookshop, it's old and dusty, the shelves are double stacked, books spill on to the floor in rickety piles, but that's what I love about it. 

2.) What is your little town of Ashford like to live in? What is your home like? 

Ashford is a small town, and full of community spirit. I guess there are pros and cons to living in a tiny town where secrets are impossible to keep but at the end of the day, when you need a friend, you have a town full of them. My home is ordered chaos, much like the bookshop. I know where everything is, but you probably wouldn't. It's kind of cluttered. With books. I figure time spent cleaning is less time reading...

3.) Surrounding your bookshop, what other establishments are there and who can we expect to see? 

My best friend Missy owns the Sassy Salon which sits on the opposite corner to me. She's this glamorous, over-the-top hairdresser who throws compliments your way like confetti. She's a real sweetheart, and a great hairdresser... 
Then there's The Gingerbread Cafe across the road, Lil and CeeCee are great pals, and often I'll close up the bookshop after the lunch rush, and head over to the cafe for a gingerbread milkshake... Missy meets me there, and us four girls sit there giggling like teenagers - they're great friends, and always there when you need advice. 

4.) Sarah, how did you come to be the owner of The Bookshop On The Corner? Was it passed down to you? Did you buy it and then spruce it up? I'm dying to know! 

Great question! People often wonder about this... There was an old man who owned the bookshop. He rather eccentric, and only opened on Saturdays, and even then only for an hour or so, begrudgingly. He'd sit there and chain smoke cigars, so you'd walk through this fog to get to the shelves. He'd narrow his eyes and watch your every move, his books were like his children, and not everyone was invited in to buy them. Of course the rumor mill ran rife about this old man who seemingly didn't need to sell books to actually make a living. There were all kinds of theories as to how he survived, and where he lived. And then one day, I peeped through the window of the shop, and we made eye contact. It was the first time I'd ever seen him without a cigar, and without that flinty look in his eyes. He waved me in and told me he wanted to sell the bookshop. To me. I was only twenty at the time, but he told me he could see the books 'spoke' to me. I'd never told anyone about my obsessive love of books, and my crazy idea that they fluttered in my presence, and hummed like they were alive. He told me all about his life, and swore me to secrecy. I've never told anyone what we discussed that day. A few weeks later, he was gone. I don't know where. I like to think he's with family somewhere, and surrounded by books. A letter turned up in the mailbox. He'd gifted me the bookshop on the one condition: that if it ever becomes a chore, I must sell it, and move on, so the books have an owner they deserve. I still think of the old guy every day, and hope he's happy wherever he is. I hope he comes back one day, to see how happy the bookshop is! And I'm so grateful to have been given something priceless. 

5.) From what I've heard, your love of books is something that we book lovers can totally understand. When would you say that it all began? What is your favourite book to date, and is there a specific genre that you can't get enough of? 

 I was a quiet child, and found other children to be slightly terrifying. I never seemed to 'fit', and instead found comfort in books. I went on adventures with my fictional friends, on the page and in my dreams, and this has continued my entire life! I don't think I'd be able to pick one book as a favourite, because so many have been 'right' for that particular time in my life, like books have a tendency to do. But my favourite genre is romance. I love LOVE. And the idea we can all aspire to the Happy Ever After. 

6.) What are your views on true love, Sarah? Do you believe in love at first sight, or do you think it takes time to grow to love someone? Is there love on the horizon for you? And what would your ideal man be like? 

I believe in love, full stop. Whether it's instant, or built up over time, or you were friends first. But I've been holding out for the guy from the books. My friends think I'm crazy, but the book boyfriend must come to life! And love may be on the cards... it's still early days, but let's just say my ideal man is tall, dark, and handsome, the perfect so-called cliche! And I'm sticking to it! ;) 

7.) You're such a social butterfly! I already follow you on Twitter and I'm also following your blog too, which I LOVE by the way. What made you choose to start up a blog? 

Oh thank you! I started the blog after a dream... (yes I'm one of 'those' people!) I wanted to meet, albeit virtually, like-minded people to discuss books with, and talk about all those quirks we all have with reading, and romance. Instantly I 'met' a group of lovely book bloggers, and romance readers who think the way I do, or are so passionate about reading, that we never run out of things to talk about! And with our time differences, we are all over the world, there's always someone there to chat to when you've read a book you just must discuss! You know, Becca because you're one of our best friends! 

8.) Do you have any close friends in Ashford? Any particular people that you go to when you need advice or just a chat? 

Missy is my best friend and has been for over a decade. She's the perfect confidante, and I know she would never share my secrets. Lil and CeeCee from The Gingerbread Cafe are also close friends, if you want good no-nonsense southern advice, then Cee is the one you go to! She's got a heart of gold but she'll be the first to tell you when you're making a mountain out of a molehill. 

9.) Do you have a dream or a life goal? Is there anywhere that you plan to visit one day? 

I would LOVE to go to Paris. Between us, I have this dream of working in a bookshop there, you know, as if it were my own. Hunting through those shelves of dusty pre-loved French books and finding treasures. One day, I keep telling myself, one day. 

10.) How popular would you say your bookshop is, Sarah? Do you have a lot of regulars? 

   I have an online store, and a collection of customers who special order certain genres. I also have the regulars of Ashford, and a book club who hang out here regularly. All in all, I'm usually busy enough but not too busy that I can't switch off and read if the urge grabs me! 

11.) I'm going to give you three wishes! What are you going to wish for? 

1.) I wish that books were available to everyone whether they could afford them or not. 
2.) That everyone found reading a magical experience. 
3.) That I do go to Paris one day and it's everything I imagine it to be! 

12.) What kinds of books are available in your bookshop? Is there something for everyone? Do you have a knack for knowing exactly what type of story a person desires? 

There's a huge selection. I feel there's something for everyone if you'll just stop to look. There's no rush here. 
I do happen to have an inkling of what people like, I can often tell the genre just by watching the way a customer talks, their mannerisms, their dress. I'm usually never wrong, except for once... with that reporter from New York. 

13.) How much time would you say you spend in your bookshop on average? Do you ever get lonely in there? 

I'd spend probably twelve hours a day here, even though I'm only open for eight of those hours. I enjoy reading here, there's certain book nooks that are perfect for different times of the day, and when the door is shut, you'll find me curled up in one of those. 
Sometimes I yearn for something in my life, like love, but I'm never lonely because I read, and that has the ability to transport me anywhere. 

14.) Sarah, what is your favourite bookish quote? 

'She reads books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live.' By Anne Dillard. 

15.) Any big plans for the future? 

I'm thinking of hiring someone to help me here. It's a huge thing for me, because I do enjoy the solitude when there are no customers, but maybe, just maybe, I do need to step slightly out of the pages... 

16.) Can I please have a job in your bookshop? I'll work real hard, promise! ;) 

Ha ha! Well see the question above, Becca! Serendipity! 

Sarah, thank you so much for taking the time to appear on Becca's Books! I am so happy to have had you here. I'll be visiting your gorgeous little bookshop one day, mark my words. It has been an absolute pleasure, and I wish you all the luck for the future. Speak soon! 
Becca xxx

Thanks for having me, Becca! And I know we will meet! And yes, please do come and visit us at the bookshop. All the best and happy reading!
Love, Sarah xx

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Well, there you have it, folks! The lovely Sarah from Rebecca Raisin's The Bookshop On The Corner. Do you like the sound of Sarah and her adorable little bookshop? If so, follow the links below to add The Bookshop On The Corner to your Goodreads to-read list and Amazon wishlists! 

In the words of Sarah Smith, happy reading! 

You can also read my five cupcake review here.




The Vineyard by Karen Aldous

"I suppose I ran away as a child but returned as an adult." 


Title - The Vineyard 
Author - Karen Aldous 
Publication Date - May 19th 2014
Publisher - Carina UK 
Format - eBook

The blurb

It's been five years, and Lizzie Lambert has decided it's time to try to make things right with her estranged mother. 

She's made a success of things in Cannes, she's bringing up a lovely little boy on her own, and she's ready to put the past behind her. 

But it seems Lizzie's mother has moved on as well. She's moved her toyboy - a muscle-bound vintner named Cal - into the family home, and given him the run of the land that was meant to be Lizzie's inheritance! 

Cal's wine business frequently takes him to France, and suddenly wherever Lizzie goes, he's already there - meddling, giving unsolicited advice, saving her little boy's life and stealing her heart. But none of this changes the fact that he's her mother's lover...

Becca's thoughts

Set against the beautiful backdrop of France and England, The Vineyard is an emotional, moving story about love, courage and taking chances, written by Karen Aldous. I loved everything about this story and I cannot wait to tell you why. So I would like to say thank you to Karen for putting together the words to create a masterpiece, and of course my favourite publishers, Carina UK. All in all, the perfect package to whisk you away from your life for a little while, and leave you wanting more. 

Without sounding dramatic, from the moment I set eyes on the very first page, I was hooked. Karen begins The Vineyard with a fantastic tease that really takes a hold of you, making all sorts of questions pop up in your mind. Lizzie, whose point of view the entirety of the story is written from, is in a cab, panicking and almost losing her mind because she is about to be dropped off at her mother's, whom she hasn't set eyes on in just over five years. As a reader, I was drawn to this tidbit of information and suddenly wanted to know all of the details; how, what and why. My mind came alive with all these different scenarios that could have happened between Lizzie and her mother, and I just couldn't wait to find out the story behind the two characters. Karen really brought this first scene to life, and she put so much emphasis on the fact that Lizzie didn't want to be there; Karen described Lizzie's rapidly beating heart, the way sweat began to prickle her skin and Karen even had the weather pitch in by brewing up a dark sky with dangerous clouds. As far as opening chapters go, The Vineyard's was superb and it well and truly had me wanting to continue on with the story, without a doubt. 

Karen's characters in The Vineyard were fabulous and all of them seemed incredibly easy to like. With Lizzie being the main character, she was introduced first and I loved the fact that she didn't have an easy, care-free life behind her. She had regrets and problems and these were clearly indicated by the now stormy atmosphere between Lizzie and her mother, but this atmosphere added a hell of a lot of depth to Lizzie's persona and I loved it. I can't say that Lizzie was broken and damaged beyond repair though, because she was actually a successful young woman who owned a beauty salon in Cannes. Not only this, but Lizzie also had a son too, and I adored how Karen described the moments where it was just mother and son. All the added details deemed Lizzie as a fantastic mother who really took an interest in her child, wanting nothing more than the best for him, and ensuring that he had a perfect, care-free life. Karen's writing style and technique shone through particularly well in these parts and I enjoyed the mother and son moments throughout the entire story. 

Another character who played a major role in The Vineyard was Lizzie's mother, Caroline. I have to admit, when she opened the door to her daughter in the opening chapter, I had this image of the evil witch from Sleeping Beauty in my mind, horns and all! Lizzie was panicking that much before she had even reached her mother's doorstep, I was imagining some huge, horrifying monster to open the door. I have to admit, I was a little confused as to the reception that Lizzie received from her mother when they set eyes on each for the first time in years, because of this huge build up beforehand, but that's okay because Lizzie was also confused too. Again, I was hooked, and I badly wanted to know what the hell had happened between them! I think when Caroline opened the door, I was straightaway suspicious and waiting for her to start spitting venom. Strangely, she didn't, and I guess Caroline and Lizzie meeting again for the first time in just over five years was really where this beautiful story began. 

As well as these two ladies, there was also the gorgeous, caring and considerate Cal, too. God, I loved this guy. He was just so sweet and genuine, and everything that you'd ever want or need in a man. Karen created instant chemistry between Cal and Lizzie, something that always makes a story sizzle and pop which I thoroughly enjoyed, but there was also a dilemma concerning Cal too. I kinda' guessed what was going to happen before it did, but it took nothing away from the enjoyment of reading the story and I couldn't stop the grin that spread across my face from cheek to cheek. Cal was one of those guys that the word "gentleman" describes perfectly. He was just so calm and easy-going, hell, even I felt calmer when he re-entered during a chapter, and that's saying something, right? 

With a mix of fabulous characters and a well put together and dramatic plot, The Vineyard was the perfect story to lose myself in. Lizzie had some tough times during the story and it was brilliant to go through these hard times with her, experiencing the ups and downs just as she did. Not only does The Vineyard's plot develop beautifully, but there is an undercurrent of emotional trauma that reduced me to a blubbering mess. It was just so freaking magnificent, I still can't find the right words to use within this review. 

I'm going to finish off by rating The Vineyard by Karen Aldous with five yummy looking cupcakes! A moving story that held my heart in its hands. I would gladly re-read this one again and again, without a doubt! Thank you so much, Karen, and I am really looking forward to any future titles from you.


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Meet Me Monday ~ Sophie

This afternoon, I have the lovely Sophie from Reviewed The Book on Becca's Books, answering my fifteen questions. Take it away, Soph! 

~ Sophie ~


~ Meet Sophie ~

1.) When would you say that your passion for reading first began? How old were you? Was it during school or later? 

I've always enjoyed reading but never did it massively. I loved Jacqueline Wilson when I was a kid and then Louise Rennison when I was a bit older. I kind of dropped off reading for a while though when I was about sixteen and it wasn't until early last year that I discovered Goodreads and started to love reading again. Now I can't imagine my life without books but a couple of years ago that wasn't the case. 

2.) What are some of your favourite movies? Is there a particular type of movie that you love? Are you a big kid? 

If any of my 'real life' friends asked me this (yes I do have some friends), they'd be convinced I love gory, horror films and the likes because I put up a tough, serious (moody) act. But I am such a wimp! Actually, I'm a sucker for chick-flicks and rom-coms even though they're all the same. 

I can't really think of my favourites. I guess the two that I've watched way too many times to remain sane are 10 Things I Hate About You (Heath Ledger was perfection in this...) and John Tucker Must Die. 

Ooh and I can't forget Magic Mike. I did think the ending kind of sucked but when Alex Pettyfer and Channing Tatum are semi-naked I can't complain...


3.) Which do you prefer? To use an e-reader or to read a physical book? Is there a particular reason for your preference? Do you have an e-reader? 

I do own an e-reader, my beloved Kindle Fire HD and I much prefer reading that than physical books. I love owning physical books because they're beautiful and everything but my e-reader is much more practical. Plus I seem to get through books quicker on it and I hate having to turn lights on to read so it's easier having my Kindle. 

4.) When is your birthday? How old will you be on your next birthday, and what's the best birthday you had? 

My birthday is October 8th and I will be 21 this time. And no I won't be partying. I'll be sat in reading I'm sure. Ooh the best birthday I've ever had is a tough question. Especially since I'm renowned for having the worst birthday luck ever. Let's see, there were the two we got burgled on, one where my best friend got run over, the two when I was really sick in hospital. Ha - birthdays just aren't for me! 

I did decide though that this bad luck wasn't going to affect me on my 18th and that kind of worked. So that would be my best birthday. Back then, I was really into going to gigs and I think I had three in that week, plus one on my birthday which was a great night. That is probably the only successful birthday I can remember though. 

5.) Besides being a bookworm, what else do you like to do for fun? 

Sorry but I'm really boring. I'm also the worst socialiser ever, except I do seem to be rambling quite well in these questions. 

Erm, I tweet quite a bit?? Although I'm sure you've noticed. I do love watching sport so I guess when I'm not reading or blogging or eating, that takes up most of my time. 

6.) What is the first thing that you usually notice first about other people? 

Their smile. It's quite ironic really since I've probably only smiled like six times in my life. 

7.) Did you like Fifty Shades of Grey? If not, why? And if so, why? 

I've never actually read it but not for any particular reason. I do read erotica but I guess I've just never got around to it. I don't get all those people ashamed to say they read erotica though. I mean, why be ashamed of anything you do? If it was so shameful, you should never do it in the first place and there's no shame in reading anything. I don't like erotica which is literally just sex though, because I wouldn't really be reading books if I wanted those kinds of kicks...

8.) Do you believe in ghosts? 

I do. I think a few spooky little things have happened making me consider whether ghosts are real or not but I won't mention them just in case anyone who has made it this far thinks I'm nuts... 

9.) Have you ever attempted to write your own story? How far did you get? What was it called and what was it about? 

Uh, not really. I used to write fan-fiction probably about five years ago. It was all hugely embarrassing, especially on the odd occasion I go back and look through what I wrote. I'd never want to be an author I don't think. I can't take any criticism. I can't even stand to hear someone criticise someone else - it makes me feel so bad. I have recently had a few ideas going around my head which I think might make interesting stories, but I don't think I'll ever write them. 

10.) What does your casual attire like? 

Scruffy. I tend to just wear a plainish top and skinny jeans and dress that up with some probably tacky costume jewellery and nail polish from one of the 1006 colours I own.  

11.) Do you have a favourite character from a book? If so, who and which book are they from? What did you like about them? 

I have two (sorry). 

I loved Liam in Carmel Harrington's Beyond Grace's Rainbow. He was by no means stereo typically perfect but I loved seeing him grow and his love and care for Grace and Jack brought me to tears throughout this whole book. He was an inspirational character battling his own demons and becoming a better person. 

And then I've just read Carmel's latest book, The Life You Left, and I loved the main character Sarah. She was also an inspirational character in that she was determined to pick herself back up to fight and protect the people she loved. She had a massive heart and I thought she was a brilliant character. 

12.) What's your favourite season? 

Autumn. I love sitting inside on an autumn day where it's not too warm or cold and it's maybe a bit rainy and just, nice. A perfect reading day :) 

Plus the view from my house is gorgeous in autumn. 


13.) If you were to open your own bookshop, what would it look like inside? 

This is a great question and one I have no great answer for. I always loved the idea of having a bookshop but I do get quite possessive over books so I'm not sure I could cope with people touching 'my' books. 

Well, it would have to be super organised and stacked completely full of books. Colour coded maybe because colour and pretty and shiny books make for all things happy. It would be quite small and cosy but still, with billions of books of course. And we need somewhere for visitors to sit and read (and fall asleep reading) because nobody ever wants to leave a bookshop, do they? And so then we'll need chocolate dispensers too because you need chocolate with a book. Are you going to make this real for me? 

14.) What's the one thing that you're afraid of? Do you have any phobias? 

  I have tons of phobias, but I'll go with the really predictable one of spiders. Ergh. Even those tiny money spiders gross me out. Anyway, I can't talk about them else I'll be having spidery nightmares. 

15.) Lastly, what is it that makes you love reading and books as much as you do? 

The escape and the chance to dream. My life is either pretty uneventful or busy and hectic for all the wrong reasons. I love reading so I can be transported somewhere else and think of all the what-ifs and picture myself being the girl in the happy-ever-after, with the dream job and swoonworthy boyfriend and just happy. Because books make me happy and I'll take happiness anywhere I can. 

~ Sophie's Bio ~

Hi! I'm Sophie - twenty year old Sports Journalism student and all-out bookworm. Self-confessed crazy cat lady and serial tweeter. If I'm not reading or tweeting (on those rare occasions), you'll find me sleeping, eating pizza or blogging over at Reviewed The Book.


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Absolutely LOVED reading your answers, Sophie, and thanks so much for taking the time to appear on Becca's Books, it has been an absolute pleasure! 

Becca xxx