HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY FIONA GIBSON!

Today on Becca's Books, I'm wishing Fiona Gibson a very happy publication day! As Good as it Gets is published today, and as I've already had the pleasure of reading it, I can tell you how brilliant it is! If you fancy it, you can read my review of As Good as it Gets, or you can skip straight to below, have a read of the blurb, and see what you think! 


A mother and daughter shopping trip. That's where it all started...

It was just a day like any other when Charlotte's 16-year-old daughter Rosie is scouted by a top model agency. For Rosie, it's a dream come true. But for Charlotte it awakens dreams she'd rather forget. 

With Rosie's new career taking off, Charlotte reluctantly agrees to take part in a 'models and their mums' photo shoot for a national magazine. But when it catches the attention of Fraser, Charlotte's first love - and father of Rosie - Charlotte starts to regret her decision. 

Fraser has never met Rosie. In fact, he's never shown any interest in either of them since the day that Charlotte announced she was pregnant. So why does Charlotte suddenly want to revisit a past she'd long forgotten about?

***

Oooh! Reading that just makes me want to reread the book all over again! Does it take your fancy, readers? If so, follow the links below to grab yourself a copy!

Wishing you a very happy publication day, Fiona Gibson!






HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY HELEN PHIFER!

Today on Becca's Books, I'm wishing Helen Phifer, author of The Annie Graham series, a fabulous paperback publication day! I cannot even fathom how amazing it must feel to hold your own book in your hands, so I'm sure Helen is absolutely over the moon today!


There's not much that scares Annie Graham. Not even the horrors she has witnessed during her years on the police force. But when she agrees to look after her brother's farmhouse, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to the crumbling old mansion in the woods nearby. But an innocent exploration of the empty ruin and the discovery of the diary of former resident Alice leaves her more than a little spooked. She knows it holds the secrets to a dark past, and she has to find out more. What was the terrible truth that Alice uncovered? And how could what happened to her over 100 years ago help solve the murders of young women in the town? 

Annie needs to stop the serial killer before she becomes his next victim - but the past comes back to haunt her in ways that she could never have expected. 

***

Eeeek! I've gotta' admit it. This sounds absolutely friggin' fantastic! Don't you agree, readers? If so, follow the links below to grab yourself a copy! 

Wishing you a marvellous paperback publication day, Helen! I hope it's full of bookish celebration and cake.






HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY TERRI NIXON!

Today on Becca's Books, I'm wishing Terri Nixon an incredibly happy publication day! Daughter of Dark River Farm publishes today, and dear readers, we can only imagine the sheer thrill that an author feels when their baby is handed out to the big, wide world! 


1917. Kitty Maitland has found a safe and welcoming home at Dark River Farm, Devon, and is finally beginning on a path to recovery after her terrible ordeal in Flanders... until the arrival of two very different visitors threatens to rip her new little family apart. 

One, a charming rogue, proves both a temptation and a mystery - Kitty is still trying to push her hopeless love for Scottish army captain Archie Buchanan out of her mind, and this stranger might be just what she needs. But she soon discovers he's not a stranger to everyone. 

The other newcomer, a young woman with a past linked to the farm, sows seeds of discontent and mistrust. Between the two of them, and the choices Kitty herself has to make, Dark River becomes a place of fear, suspicion and danger. Can it ever return to the haven it once was? 

***

Ooooh, mysterious, huh? I like the sound of the charming rogue, for sure! ;) Intrigued? I hope so, because if you are, then follow the links below to grab yourself a copy! 

Happy publication day, Terri Nixon! I hope it's wonderful and full of celebration!













The Dead Wife's Handbook by Hannah Beckerman

It's ironic, I know, that it's only in death that I've learnt how to live. 


Title - The Dead Wife's Handbook
Author - Hannah Beckerman 
Publication Date - 13th February 2014
Publisher - Penguin 
Format - Paperback (Received as a gift)
Pages - 477

The blurb

"Today is my death anniversary. A year ago today I was still alive."

Rachel, Max and their daughter Ellie had the perfect life - until the night Rachel's heart stopped beating. 

Now Max and Ellie are doing their best to adapt to life without Rachel, and just as her family can't forget her, Rachel can't quite let go of them either. Caught in a place between worlds, Rachel watches helplessly as she begins to fade from their lives. And when Max is persuaded by family and friends to start dating again, Rachel starts to understand that dying was just the beginning of her problems. 

As Rachel grieves for the life she's lost and the life she'll never lead, she learns that sometimes the thing that breaks your heart might be the very thing you hope for. 

Becca's thoughts

Since beginning my blog, Becca's Books, and a very long time before that, I have read hundreds and hundreds of books. I've read romance, drama, mystery, thrillers, horrors and even the odd crime book on occasion. I've experienced love, betrayal, fear, excitement and heart-break, all at the hands of those incredible authors who have managed to somehow, with their words and characters, envelope me within a million different worlds, all whilst I'm sat in the comfort of my own home. I've cried, I've laughed, I've clasped a hand over a shocked mouth and I've even, during a fair few, fallen head over heels in love. But never, and I mean never, have I closed a book and been left to feel the way that I did when I closed The Dead Wife's Handbook. I cannot even begin to describe the onslaught of emotions I experienced as I turned the pages of this story again and again, delving deeper and deeper into a story that has changed me for the better. This book, and Hannah's stunning writing, has left a mark on me that I know will never go away. This is one of those books that will wriggle relentlessly and break through the barriers of all that you think you know about life and all that it entails. One of those books that will, without a doubt, be stored in my mind forever more, and be mentioned to others again and again, brought up in conversation, referred to repeatedly, It is a book that I know will remain in the depths of my heart, as well as in my being, for a very long time, if not always. In all of the previous books that I've had the pleasure of reading, I've taken something away from each of them, but I think that this time, The Dead Wife's Handbook has taken away a little piece of me and captured it between the pages.  

When Rachel's story begins, one year has passed since her tragic death. One year since her heart suddenly stopped beating, and she was no longer on earth with her husband Max and their daughter Ellie. When we meet Rachel, it becomes clear that she is somewhere otherworldly. Surrounded by white, completely alone but for her memories and feelings, Rachel is somewhere between the world and whatever lies on the opposite side. I've read books like this before, where the author places their character in a place that some would know as the 'in-between', and it never fails to make me sit up straight and pay close attention. As the story progresses, it becomes clear to the reader that even though Rachel is no longer alive and on earth with her loved ones, someone or something is allowing her to look down and watch her family as they grieve and attempt to slowly move forward with their lives. This, in itself, was utterly heartbreaking, yet each and every time the white clouds that surrounded Rachel began to disperse, I became even more enchanted and felt just as eager as Rachel to see how Ellie, Max, and the rest of their family and friends were coping. In a nutshell, The Dead Wife's Handbook follows Rachel through some of the most bitter-sweet moments she has ever known; from seeing Max fall in love with another woman, to witnessing her darling, darling girl Ellie placing flowers at her headstone.         

The emotions that Rachel experiences as she watches her family trying to come to terms with her death were gut-twistingly real and raw. I swear, every emotion that the dear woman felt, I felt it too. It was like I was perching up above the clouds with Rachel, watching every single feeling pass over her face as she watched the scenes unfold below. Hannah's descriptions of Rachel's memories were absolutely beautiful, tender and warm, and all the more capable of splitting my heart into two. Rachel talked about when she and Max first met, Ellie's birth, their holidays and celebrations, and this opened up an entire history, making these characters more believable than ever. As Rachel relayed their beautiful past, it became even harder for me to come to terms with the fact that she was no longer on earth with her family, almost as hard as it was for Rachel to come to terms with it.

From beginning to end, this book was an overwhelming roller-coaster of truths. Hannah split Rachel's story into parts, all titled with, what I interpreted as, the steps of the grieving process, and it wasn't long until I realised that it wasn't only the people left on earth who were grieving for Rachel, but Rachel herself was grieving too, for the life that she'd left behind, and the family, and all of the hopes and dreams that she hadn't had the chance to pursue. It was painful, for me, to read Rachel's first person narrative, to have her feelings flow through my body as if they were my own, and to also be invited to look down upon her family as their lives continued. I don't think I've ever been so affected by a book before now, and all I can say is that I can't believe I left it so long before I finally read it. The characters, the circumstances, the moments that Rachel knew were coming but couldn't bear to witness... It all came together in the end to wring every last tear from me.

Becca's Books is rating The Dead Wife's Handbook by Hannah Beckerman with FIVE SCRUMMY CUPCAKES! And then some... This book had it all. From the emotional trauma to the beautiful realisation that life, after all, is just a fleeting moment in time, and you need to live it completely and utterly to the fullest. Make memories, laugh, love, and enjoy every single tiny millisecond, because if Rachel's experiences from up above were true, then I'd want to be left in that white space with all of my favourite memories to remember again and again. Hannah Beckerman, I absolutely salute you. This was a glittering masterpiece of a book, overflowing with pure, unconditional love.




        

Revealing Amelia Thorne's cover of Tied up With Love

Today on Becca's Books, I am absolutely delighted to be taking part in Amelia Thorne's goooorgeous cover reveal for her upcoming release Tied up With Love. Trust me when I say readers, that it is absolutely BEAUTIFUL! 

So, without further ado, let's reveal that cover!


Tied up With Love
By Amelia Thorne
Published February 14th 2015 (eBook)

'We're from KMW. Do exactly as you're told and you won't get hurt..."

Being grabbed off the street, blind folded, tied up and thrown into a van was not what Izzy expected to happen when she stepped out the door that morning. But when an accidental kipnapping at the hands of the sexy Ethan Chase and his 'Kidnap My Wife' sexual fantasy business leads to just that, Izzy seizes the chance to turn her misfortune into a brilliant new job opportunity...

Since then, life has been one big tangle of new client meetings, fake kidnapping pick-ups, and handling the temperamental, but drop dead gorgeous 'bad boy' Ethan Chase. But, as liberating as being tied up in Ethan's life is, Izzy knows the time is fast approaching when she must make some decisions and take charge of her future. The only question is: will Ethan allow himself to be a part of it? 

***

Sounds absolutely friggin' fantastic, doesn't it? 
Congratulations on such a gorgeous cover, Amelia, and I'm sure the story within is just as attractive!







What a Woman Desires by Rachel Brimble

"You will never leave and I will never stay."


Title - What a Woman Desires
Author - Rachel Brimble
Publication Date - 5th January 2015
Publisher - Lyrical Press 
Format - Paperback (Provided via author)

The blurb

From country girl to actress of the stage, one woman dares to live her dreams - but is she brave enough to open her heart...? 

Monica Danes is always wanted more than the village of Biddlestone had to offer. After a failed courtship to a man of her parent's choosing, she fled for the city of Bath and never looked back. Today, Monica is the undisputed queen of the theatre - a wealthy, independent woman. But when she is called home in the wake of a tragedy, Monica returns - intending to leave again as soon as possible. 

Thomas Ashby has been a groom at the Dane's estate since he was boy - and has been enamoured with Monica for almost as long. He knows he isn't a suitable match for his master's daughter, despite the special bond he and Monica have always shared - and their undeniable attraction. But now that she's returned, Thomas has one last chance to prove himself worthy - and to show Monica a life, and a love, that she won't want to give up...

Becca's thoughts

Firstly, I'd like to say a massive thank you to the wonderful author Rachel Brimble for kindly providing me with a gorgeous signed copy of What a Woman Desires. I absolutely adore historical romance, especially historical romance that has as much fiery chemistry as What a Woman Desires had, and so, I could not wait to begin reading!

Monica Danes escaped to the city of Bath and became the star of the stage. She escaped a life of social climbing and, in the process, escaped the clutches of a violent man who had been matched to her by her parents. Now, Monica is known throughout the city. Her pretty face graces the posters that advertise the theatre's latest shows, and she's more beautiful than ever, now that she's living the life that she loves with a passion. When Rachel introduced me to her character Monica, I was made instantly aware of the woman's fierce determination to be independent. She refused to be forced into a life that would grind her spirit down, and had flourished in Bath, in front of an audience who absolutely adored her. Monica's love for the theatre and the life that she now lived was hugely written upon, and in turn, I felt like that was where Monica was truly meant to be. I highly respected her life choices but knew, without a doubt, that something was going to come along and tear her dreams to pieces. As Rachel began to describe Monica's past to me, it became apparent that not only was going to Bath something that Monica had wanted to do, but also something that she needed to do. Her previous years spent back at home in the village of Biddlestone had been nothing but constrictions, rules to follow and, quite simply, Monica had hated it. The Danes family were and still are well-known and wealthy, yet Monica hadn't wanted to live a life so bound together by rules and expectations. From Rachel's fantastic descriptions, I was able to fully understand and even feel the sheer frustration at being told how to live a life. I did not blame Monica in the slightest for fleeing to Bath, especially after she regales the tale of how badly her arranged courtship turned out to be, and dangerous, for that matter. Quite simply, Monica Danes really struck gold with me as a character within the story. She was such a strong woman, with dreams and ambitions, and who knew exactly what she wanted from life. I loved how happy she was when at the theatre, surrounded by her friends and glowing superbly in the stunning dresses. It truly was a sight to behold in my own imagination, but that pleasure was swiftly shot down when a letter from Monica's younger sister Jane arrived, and urged for Monica to return home, following the death of their father and steady decline in their mother's mental and physical health. At this point, I seriously felt the drop in the previously jubilant atmosphere, yet I just couldn't wait to see what happened next. 

Monica's journey back to Biddlestone and everything that unfolds from there was just brilliant. Not only was she reunited with her mother and sister, but she was also catapulted back towards Thomas, her father's groom, who, quite simply, was delectable. Everything about this man was masculine and Rachel's descriptions of him drove me wild! Broad, rough, jaw usually set in that determined way that passionate men have, he was the perfect hero in this story. Rachel's storytelling of Monica's and Thomas's past was spot-on, and the chemistry that had been between all of those years before was still very much present. It was torturous for me, as the reader, to read about the sexual tension and feelings between these two characters. What made it even more enjoyable was that Rachel switched the narrative between Monica and Thomas the entire way through the book, which gave me a fantastic insight into how each of the characters were feeling, and also into what they were thinking. It was so bloody exciting, and the tension was constantly fizzing in the air and I just couldn't get enough. Thomas was such an incredibly loyal and loving man, which contrasted perfectly against his hardened exterior. His love and care for Monica went so deep that I could barely breathe whenever he spoke or thought about her. It was beautifully romantic and I seriously wanted something to explode between them, just to clear the air! Besides Thomas and Monica, Jane also stood out to me as a brilliant character to add to the plot. Being the younger sister, she seemed more innocent and subdued to Monica, and there was a clear shine of innocence about her which I found endlessly endearing. Their mother, on the other hand, was someone who Monica did not look forward to seeing again. 

Set in the Victorian era, What a Woman Desires was fantastically descriptive, the language and settings highlighting this perfectly. I loved how the characters spoke, how they acted and dressed, and the emphasis on social boundaries was kept at the forefront of my mind right the way through. Rachel did a fabulous job of whisking me back in time, and I really, really enjoyed my reading of this book. 

Becca's Books is rating What a Woman Desires by Rachel Brimble with FOUR GORGEOUS CUPCAKES! Despite it not having a lasting effect of me, I can say that I really enjoyed Monica's story, in it's entirety, and I hope to read more of Rachel's work in the future. Her descriptions of Biddlestone and Marksville house easily transported me back to a time which I've been fascinated with ever since I can remember. Rachel, thank you so much for the chance to read What a Woman Desires, such a talented author with a clear talent for historical romance. 







HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY KATIE OLIVER!

Today on Becca's Books, I'm wishing the fabulous Katie Oliver a very happy publication day! Her new book And the Bride Wore Prada is out today, and this is the first book in her brand new Marrying Mr Darcy series. And what a gorgeous way to begin the series. I am in book-love with that cover!


She's dated Mr Darcy... now, it's time for Gemma to prepare to say 'I do!'

And the Bride Wore Prada ~ Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US

If you haven't already, you can read the trilogy of Katie's Dating Mr Darcy series, by clicking on the links below! (Or, of course, you can buy them separately!)


Dating Mr Darcy trilogy Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US








A Beginner's Guide To Salad by Jennifer Joyce

I was happy and that was all that mattered in the end.


Title - A Beginner's Guide To Salad
Author - Jennifer Joyce 
Publication Date - 14th January 2014
Publisher - Smashwords
Format - eBook (Twitter give-away/author)

The blurb

Ruth loves nothing more than curling up in front of the telly with a family-sized bar of chocolate. She doesn't do diets and she certainly doesn't do exercise. But all that changes when she's invited to her school reunion. 

Bullied at school for being overweight, Ruth's first reaction is to rip the invitation into a million pieces. But then Ruth hatches a plan. She'll lose the weight and arrive at the reunion looking gorgeous and glamorous, leaving her old classmates in awe. Especially her former crush, Zack O'Connell. 

With the help of her friends and a new, unbelievably hot colleague, Ruth begins her transformation. With six months until the reunion, losing weight will be a piece of cake, right? 

Becca's thoughts

I'd like to begin my review of A Beginner's Guide To Salad by Jennifer Joyce by saying a massive thank you to the author for providing me with an eBook copy which I was lucky enough to win through a Twitter give-away! Wahoo! I was over the moon when I was announced as the winner, especially after seeing some of the fabulous reviews, so I couldn't wait to begin reading. 

In A Beginner's Guide to Salad, we're introduced to Jennifer's heroine, Ruth. The book, in a nutshell, focuses on a school reunion that Ruth is attending, where she'll be surrounded by the people who once bullied and taunted her, right the way through school. Ruth's plan is to rock up to that reunion, looking thin, glamorous, and to prove all of her classmates wrong, that she lost her weight, and transformed from the ugly duckling to the beautiful swan. So, Ruth formulates a plan. With six months to go until the big day, she's going to lose weight. She's going to look absolutely fabulous when she turns up. She's going to turn heads, widen eyes, and cause the people that once name-called to choke on their fancy drinks. 

The first thing that immediately caught my attention when I began reading A Beginner's Guide to Salad was how brilliant Jennifer's writing style was. Humorous, light-hearted, and effortlessly smooth. It just seemed to flow really well, and this added heaps of enjoyment to my reading of it. The language, particularly Ruth's, was very similar to my own, in that Ruth would occasionally drop a swearword or two into the mix. It seemed very genuine, down-to-earth, and completely believable, which is something that I LOVE. Right the way through, this light-heartedness added a gorgeous tone to the writing, despite the issue of Ruth being bullied as a young girl, which was actually quite serious. Jennifer dealt with these issues in a brilliant way and it was handled perfectly. She didn't make bullying seem like a joke, nor did she make it so serious that the tone of the book was dismal or depressing. Jennifer managed to get it just right, and it was absolutely fantastic. 

Ruth's character was spot on and I loved her. Ruth had a lot of hate for herself, which stemmed from her days in school, and I really hated that it was still a big presence in her life, even now that she'd grown up. I think what I felt most for Ruth's character was respect. After everything that she'd been through, she was willing to lose the weight and show up at the reunion to wow everyone. This said to me that she really wanted to prove them all wrong, and I was cheering her on! A lot of Ruth's dialogue had me chuckling away to myself. She was the type of girl to kick back on the sofa with a big bar of chocolate or a takeaway and chill out. Some of her private thoughts really tickled me, it seemed that Ruth was fluent in sarcasm, especially when it came to her arse of a boss, Kelvin, who seemed to think that Ruth was some kind of slave rather than an employee. Despite the demons of her past still very much haunting Ruth, it was clear that she was ready to make a big change in her life (well, since knowing about the reunion) and I was more than ready to go on that journey with her! Ruth was a very engaging character, and it didn't take long for me to feel completely utterly involved within her story. Ruth also lived with her two flatmates, Billy and Theo, Billy being her brother Stephen's best-mate and someone who had had Ruth's back since their school days. Billy and Theo were very different in a number of way. First off, with girls. Theo was a completely ladies man, a bit cocky and arrogant, and went through girls as quickly as the weather changed! Billy, on the other hand, was a lot more subdued when it came to females. He didn't go through girls in the same way that Theo did, preferring a more prolonged, fulfilling relationship with just one woman. Out of the two of the men, I definitely took a preference to Billy. He was so sweet, he cooked for Ruth, and their relationship just seemed unbreakable. Their bond had begun as children, and they'd been there for each other right the way through their lives as they'd grown up. Billy, to me, was like an extra big brother to Ruth. They'd also shared a love for a popular TV programme within the book, called 'A Beginner's Guide to You', which rolled along with the title of Ruth's story perfectly! Billy was a positive presence in Ruth's life, and seemed to add an upbeat kind of feel to the tone whenever he was around. I don't feel that Theo played as much of a major role as Billy, hence why I didn't feel like I really connected to him that well, but I still feel like he added to the atmosphere in the flat whenever he was around, and a bit of hilarity now and again too. They're not the only characters that you can look forward to meeting within the book though, there are a ton more! There's Erin, Ruth's best-friend, who to me was like the female version of Theo. She was a definite flirt, wore short dresses, high heels, and seemed to be irresistible to the opposite sex. There was also Kelvin, Ruth's arse of a boss, who, despite his bossy and lazy nature, I actually found hilarious especially at one point in the book where Ruth finds him sat in his office with just his pants on! Hahah! There's also the utterly gorgeous Jared, who Ruth cannot take her eyes off, and who also becomes Ruth's gym partner! And so many, many more! If this is making you think, "Oh my God, that's way too many characters, how will I ever keep up?" then don't panic. I usually cannot get along with character-rammed books, quickly losing track of who's who... but with Ruth's story, it didn't seem difficult at all. In fact, Jennifer did such a fantastic job of describing them all to me, it was easy to keep them separate in my mind as they all had their own unique personalities that set them apart. 

Another thing that I adored was how Jennifer switched the narrative between her characters. Despite the story following Ruth as she prepares for the reunion, Jennifer switches between Ruth, Jared and Billy! It was absolutely brilliant and such a gorgeous way for this story to be told. What I also loved (I know, but I just LOVED SO MUCH) was that when reading from Ruth's perspective, it was in first person,whereas with the Billy and Jared, it was third. And OMG, it just opened up the story so much to me! I feel like I was able to look at everything that happened from every possible perspective, and wow. Just wow. 

Throughout Ruth's journey, we see her attempt a number of different diets; from the cabbage soup diet that stinks out the flat, to a salad diet, which gets boring very quickly. Ruth always attempts lifting weights, yoga, pilates, Zumba, and a million other things to help her get to the reunion looking as a fit as a fiddle. It had me laughing until my sides ached, grinning like a loon, and pulling a face at the pong of the cabbage soup. The characters were fantastic, all different and engaging in their own special ways, and it was just such an exciting read! 

Becca's Books is rating A Beginner's Guide to Salad by Jennifer Joyce with FIVE GORGEOUS CUPCAKES!!! If you haven't read one yet, then I suggest doing so! I can't believe I've left it so long until reading one, and I now cannot wait to read Jennifer's next book! Jennifer, thank you so much for the opportunity to win a copy of this brilliant book, and you are brilliant! 






Revealing Carys Jones' cover of Dare to Dream

This afternoon on Becca's Books, I'm delighted to be spreading the word about Dare to Dream's epic cover! If the phenomenal cover doesn't sell it to you, then read the blurb, it sounds brilliant!


Dare to Dream
By Carys Jones

"The world was going to end. Of that, Maggie Trafford was certain."

Fourteen-year-old Maggie Trafford leads a normal life. Well, as normal as being crammed in a three-bedroom house with four siblings and a single parent can be, anyway. But despite being somewhat ignored at home, Maggie excels, earning top grades, a best friend who would do anything for her, and stolen looks from a boy in Maths. 

It's not until the dreams start that Maggie realizes "normal" is the least of her problems. Every night, she lives the same nightmare - red lightning, shattered glass, destruction. But nightmares are just that, right? No one believes her when she says it's an omen. At least, not until the already mysterious pillars of Stonehenge start falling. 

No longer alone in her fear, Maggie and the world watch with bated breath as one after another, the historic stones tumble, like a clock counting down. But only Maggie knows what it means: when the last stone falls, destruction will reign. And when the world ends, there's only one option left - survive. 

Horrifying and raw, Dare to Dream is equal parts tragedy and hope, detailing the aftermath of apocalyptic catastrophe, the quest for survival, and the importance of belief. 

***

Wow. I feel like I was holding my breath right the way through reading that. Sounds pretty freaking awesome, right? If you think so, then the relevant links are below, book friends! 

You can find Carys Jones on Twitter | Facebook | Carys-Jones.com





HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY T.A. WILLIAMS!

Today, T.A Williams' What Happens in Tuscany is published by Carina UK, and in true book-blogger style, Becca's Books is dancing and raving about it! I'd like to wish Mr Williams a very happy publication day, and to my bookish blog readers, I'd like to tell you a little bit more about T.A Williams' brand new release!


The blurb

From rainy England...

Katie never imagined her life was perfect. But when she finds herself on a rainy street, soaked to the bone and with only a cheating boyfriend and a dead-end job keeping her in town, she knows something has to change. Which is what leads her to Iddlescombe Manor, to be companion to Lady Victoria Chalker-Pyne - the only 25 year old Katie's ever met who hasn't heard of Twitter, thinks camisoles are de rigueur, and desperately needs an education in the 21st century! 

... to the Tuscan sun!

But it wouldn't be an education without a summer holiday - and where better than Tuscany? Decamping to Victoria's family villa, it's soon clear that the valley really does have it all: sun, sea... and some seriously gorgeous neighbours. The only question is: when the weather's this hot, the wine is this smooth and the local men are this irresistible... will Katie ever want to make the journey home? 

***

Well, I don't know about you book lovers, but this sounds absolutely bloody fantastic! Be sure to get your copy, and remember, leave a review, it makes a whole load of difference to authors and really helps them along. 

You can also find T.A. Williams on Goodreads | Twitter | T.A. Williams' Books.com 






Loves, Lies and Lemon Cake by Sue Watson

'Putting up' with your husband is not a marriage and 'getting on with it' is not a life.


Title - Love, Lies and Lemon Cake
Author - Sue Watson
Publication Date - 27th June 2014
Publisher - Bookouture 
Format - eBook (Provided via NetGalley)
Pages - 290

The blurb

Faye Dobson has lost her sparkle. Living on film star fantasies and vague memories of a marriage that once was, she can't help feeling that life is passing her by. She dreams of being whisked to Paris for dinner, making three wishes at the Trevi fountain and having sex under the stars. But the wrinkles are multiplying, her husband's passion is for plumbing, and the nearest she'll get to Rome is a take-away pizza. 

So when Faye meets Dan the gorgeous Australian surfer guy working in the local deli she can't help but wonder what it would be like to see the world. He is blonde, tanned, ten years younger and bakes the most amazing lemon cake. Unlike her husband Dan actually listens to Faye, his smile makes her feel fizzy inside, and when he smiles... Oh. My. God. 

But is Faye being silly? What would Dan see in someone like her? Even if he did have feelings for her, could she give up everything to be with him? 

Becca's thoughts 

Firstly, I'd like to thank the fabulous publishers Bookouture for providing me with a digital copy of Love, Lies and Lemon Cake by Sue Watson in exchange for a fair and honest review. I'd also like to say thank you to the wonderful Sue Watson who is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors. Yet again, I am blown away by the sheer quality of her writing, and after reading Snow Angels, Secrets and Christmas Cake back in December (see my review here!), it was an absolute must that I found my way to Love, Lies and Lemon Cake as soon as I had the chance. 

Love, Lies and Lemon Cake was absolutely stunning, and trust me when I say that I'm not using the term lightly. It was evident in Snow Angels, Secrets and Christmas Cake that Sue was an artist with words, creating some of the most scrumptious descriptions I've come across, whether that be food, settings or her characters, and that truly remains in Love, Lies and Lemon Cake. Sue has such a gorgeous way with words, and I think I spent the majority of my time when reading the book unattractively salivating. It is these descriptions that whisked me away to the world within the pages. Every tiny thing was sprinkled with creative glitter, highlighting it and bringing whatever it was to the very front of my mind. Sue's writing style is effortlessly smooth and sleek, hypnotising almost, and it was incredibly easy for me to lose myself completely to the fictional world and people that I was being given. 

In Love, Lies and Lemon Cake Sue introduces us to her heroine Faye Dobson. From the get go, it was strikingly obvious that Faye was not happy with her life, including her marriage to plumber Craig, a grumpy man who seemed to touch dishwashers and washing machines with more passion than he could muster up for his wife. As Sue opens the story, we're provided with a glittering scene, involving Ryan Gosling and Faye, relaxing on a sunlounger, sipping a martini beside a shimmering pool with the iconic Hollywood sign viewable in the distance. What surprised me was how disappointed I felt on Faye's behalf when I realised that she was daydreaming in the bathtub! As Craig begins to hammer on the bathroom door, interrupting Faye's glorious fantasy, it's back to the stark, dreary reality of what Faye's life acutally consists of. Written in first person narrative, Faye tells all; about the times she attempted to woo Craig into the bedroom, about the huge amount of time they'd spend not saying a single word to each other, and she described how it had begun to feel like they were more like siblings, rather than a married couple, simply sharing a home and avoiding each other. I felt, on Faye's behalf, worn-out by the routine, angry and frustrated, and utterly bored with her circumstances. It was the same thing every single day. Sue did such an excellent job of setting the tone with the opening of Love, Lies and Lemon Cake. Not only was it downright dismal, but I knew that if it was going to be started in this way, then it could only get better, and I fizzed with excitement at the thought of where Sue would take Faye Dobson next!

The only way is up, babyyyyy!
As Faye's story progressed, it just got better and better and better. What began as a miserable existence quickly turned into something exciting and I couldn't have raced through the story faster, even if I had wanted to. Faye's circumstances completely took on a life of their own, and I was gripping my Kindle for dear life with my eagerness to continue onwards. What I adored about Faye as a character was that she had once been a young girl with dreams and wishes and hopes. At one point near the beginning of the book, Faye slips into her absent daughter's room, who's away at university, and pulls down a backpack that she'd once stuffed away up there, out of sight, out of mind. Within that bag were items from a time in Faye's life when the world was, quite simply, her oyster. Back then, she could have done anything. In fact, her younger self had made a list...

"My Living List
Learn to Ice Skate
Lose 10 lbs
Make a wish at the Trevi Fountain in Rome (then ride a pistachio-green Vespa through the streets.)
Swim naked in the ocean
Drink champagne on a New York roof garden
See a Santorini Sunset
Eat macarons in a Parisian tea shop
Be a bride
Be a mum

When Faye found this list and looked upon what she'd wished for all those years ago, it absolutely touched my heart. It was such an emotional, bitter-sweet moment, and I felt a huge ache in my chest on Faye's behalf, fictional character or not. All those hopes and plans, everything that she'd wanted to do and see... all gone to waste, and never to be ticked off that list. Faye's past with Craig had consisted of agreeing to marriage for their daughter's sake, Emma, and as Faye looked back upon that list, I could practically feel the regret simmering as Faye stroked her finger along the paper. Not regret regarding her daughter of course, it was clear that Emma was the best thing that had ever happened to Faye, but regret that she'd allowed herself to give up on that list so easily, had turned away from it without a backward glance and decided that it was too late to make those dreams happen. At this point, I couldn't take it. What I adored was how Sue made me sit back and think about my own life. Of course, I'm not as far into life as Faye had been, I don't have a husband or any children, but it made me more determined than ever to get out there and enjoy my life. As Faye talked me through everything that had happened in her past, how she truly felt deep down inside, I realised that I just couldn't allow something like that to happen to myself. Faye's narration was absolutely beautiful, bursting at the seams with wisdom and guidance, and so damn much of it was quote-worthy. In fact, it made me well up a few times, too. Argh, look at me, I've rambled far too much here!

Faye's life really takes a turn for the better when she steps into the new deli in the street and sets her eyes upon the guy behind the counter. Young, sun-kissed, and in his thirties, Dan, well-travelled and from the sandy shores of Australia, is everything that Faye had wanted to be. To me, Dan had appeared in Faye's life at the perfect moment, just when things were beginning to become unbearable back home. Surrounded by exotic food, pink hams and juicy olives, the deli, in my mind, became a sort of sanctuary for Faye, a place where, as soon as she stepped through the doors, she became a different woman entirely. In front of Dan she was no longer a frumpy mother with a miserable husband, but a beautiful woman, sexy and attractive, someone who others would find appealing to the eye. I adored this transformation in Faye. Dan, too, was just what Faye needed. Rather than ignoring her habit of verbal diarrhoea, Dan would laugh and joke and actually, truly, appear interested in what she had to say, which was a far cry from Craig back home, who ignored her constantly. Dan really brought out a side to Faye that I felt hadn't been unearthed since her teenage years, and it was breathtaking to read. I think, from the moment that Faye wandered into that deli, overwhelmed by the scents and sights, something magical happened, and Faye decided to turn her life around, before it became too late. 

As previously mentioned above, I do believe Sue Watson is a master of description. Everything that she writes makes me feel the same way that eating my favourite meal does, or sinking back into a hot, steamy bubble bath. It's indulgent, moreish, and so incredibly addictive that I completed Love, Lies and Lemon Cake in less than 24 hours. There was a strong, powerful message hidden within Sue's words. That no matter how old you are, nothing is impossible, and half of the time, it's your own fears and insecurities that hold you back from achieving your wildest dreams. Everything about this book was perfection. The settings, the circumstances, the dramas, the narrative... Faye Dobson was a woman who, if she hadn't have been fictional, I'd have loved to have her autograph and hear her tell her story over and over again. 

Becca's Books is rating Love, Lies and Lemon Cake by Sue Watson with five delicious cupcakes! I love this author. Absolutely, utterly adore her. I don't think Sue Watson is capable of disappointing me, and that's the truth. From the Curl Up and Dye salon where Faye works, all the way Santorini, this book is a must-read for everybody! 




  

Surviving the Rachel by Aven Ellis

Nothing screams "I'm a woman ready for change" like an entirely new hairstyle.


Title - Surviving the Rachel
Author - Aven Ellis
Publication Date - 20th December 2015
Publisher - Soul Mate Publishing 
Format - eBook (Provided via author)

The blurb

Life after college graduation is not at all what twenty-one-year-old Bree Logan expected. Unable to find a professional communications job, dumped by the guy who was THE ONE, and stuck with a pricey city apartment she can't afford, Bree ends up moving back home with her parents in the suburbs and working as a cocktail waitress at a posh Chicago hotel. 

In a desperate attempt to get a fresh start, Bree goes to a hip salon and requests that the first available stylist chop off her long dark hair. Alarmed when the stylist suggests "The Rachel," after the famous haircut from the show Friends, Bree is hesitant, but decides to go for it when she is assured it will be a "fresh, modern adaptation" of the infamous 90's cut. Unfortunately for Bree, it turns out to be exactly the same cut, but with horrific heavy bangs added to it. Hideous doesn't even begin to describe it. Bree is convinced nothing will ever go right when she meets neighbour Jack Chelten, a twenty-five-year-old German translator. Not that Bree is looking to date anyone, but there's something quirky and intriguing about his freckle-splashed face and blue eyes. And suddenly Bree finds herself seeking out different opportunities and challenges... as well as the boy next door. 

In her new adult life, Bree learns that sometimes you have to go through crises to get to where you need to be. And if you can survive The Rachel, you can survive anything, right? 

Becca's thoughts 

In true Becca's Books' fashion, I'm going to begin this review by saying a very special thank you to the fantastic author Aven Ellis, for providing me with a copy of her gorgeous latest release Surviving the Rachel. Sadly, it's been a while since I've read one of Aven's books, and I so missed her unique style and engaging, lovable characters. Back in 2014, I had the pleasure of reading Connectivity (my review is here!) and Waiting for Prince Harry (my review is here!), both of which I absolutely adored! And so, I could not wait to finally dive into another of Aven's books, after spending such a long time away. So, Aven, THANK YOU for kindly providing me with a copy to review, you are a star! 

I won't lie. When my blogger buddies began reading Surviving the Rachel back during the publication date in December, I was incredibly curious as to what the title meant. I am a firm Friends lover, owning a boxset of every single episode and knowing most of them off by heart, but I did not know that there was actually a hairstyle known as 'The Rachel'! After googling it and finding an image, I was then able to picture Aven's heroine Breeanna Logan perfectly. Once I realised what the title meant, everything fell into place in my mind, and I bloody loved it! The framework of Surviving the Rachel is built upon this hairstyle, and the fact that when Breeanna Logan walks into the hairdressers, and then steps back out as a new woman (with The Rachel!), everything changes. At first, Breennna felt that her world was coming to an end, but in fact, quite the opposite was about to happen! 

When Aven introduced me to her heroine Bree, I loved her instantly. She was given a past that was a lot less than perfect, and I always find myself drawn to these characters, the ones that have had a hell of a lot to deal with, yet still manage to make me smile! Unable to find the job that she graduated for and being bailed on by her ex-boyfriend, Bree had no choice but to head back home with her parents. Not the ideal situation of course, but desperate times call for desperate measures! The very first time we meet Bree, she's feeling that it's time to take action, and in Bree's case, that's a haircut! Written in first person, and from Bree's point of view, Aven allows us to read every little thought that goes through Bree's pretty head. It's obvious from the beginning that Bree isn't the type of girl to sit and mope about her dire circumstances. I became aware of a fierce determination in Bree's character, to go out there and get what she wanted, and I was SO ready to cheer her on. One thing that became apparent to me once I'd finished reading, was how far Bree had managed to come. In the beginning, she had no idea what she was doing or where she was going, but by the end of it... Well, I won't ruin it for you! Breeanna was genuine, down-to-earth, and just so easy to connect with. Of course, Bree doesn't come as a one-woman package! Moving back home means that she's living with her parents once more, and that adorable little set-up includes her mother's yappy toy Pomeranian Diva, who just happens to the very reason that things begin to look up for Bree! I loved the warm, cosy atmosphere that enveloped me whenever Bree was at home. There was such a heartwarming, family feel, and Bree's mother made me giggle repeatedly, especially regarding Diva's lifestyle and care routine! (Trust me, you will laugh out loud!) Not only do Breeanna's parents appear in the story, but there are also characters from Aven's previous books included too, AND IT MADE ME SMILE SO MUCH! This includes the social platform which we're first made aware of in Aven's book Connectivity! Bree had a great circle of friends, all of whom added a pleasant tone of friendship and happiness to the plot which warmed me right the way through!

Of course, wherever there's a heroine, you can usually find a hero. and in Surviving the Rachel, that hero is Jack Chelten, also known as the boy next door. Before Jack even makes an appearance in the plot, we're finding out about him from Bree's mother, who is definitely eager to set Bree up with Eric, the younger brother! But (and I LOVED this part), it's not Eric who Bree falls for, but Jack. Let me tell you readers, if you're into bad boys then Jack probably won't be the kind of guy for you, but if a true gentleman is what you like, then look no further. Aven created the ultimate Mr Nice Guy with Jack Chelten. I'm talking the kind of guy who holds open doors, pulls out seats, calls you beautiful and who isn't dying to take it to the bedroom. Aven's descriptions of Jack created such an attractive, well-mannered man in my mind, with his reddish-brown hair and navy blue eyes, and I fell for him exactly when Bree did. Despite Bree being determined in not wanting to get tangled up in a relationship, those walls come tumbling down, and she's charmed by him immediately, and I do not blame her in the slightest! 

Ultimately, when Bree meets Jack, Surviving the Rachel truly takes off, and it was a romantic whirlwind where Breeanna Logan realises that she has to get through the bad stuff to get to the really, really good stuff. I adored the message behind Aven's writing. It was moving, incredibly sweet and made me realise that we all need to take the bad with the good, and in Breeanna's case, the hairstyle that she absolutely hated turned out to be a very important part in her beautifully written story. The ups and downs of life, love, careers, and every tiny incredible thing in-between. You will fall in love with not only with Mr Jack Chelten, but with the fantastic Chicago setting, the dramas, and the downright delectable heartfelt dialogue that moved me almost constantly. 

Becca's Books is rating Surviving the Rachel by Aven Ellis with FIVE GORGEOUS CUPCAKES! I fell head over heels with Aven's stories last year, and now I am, once again, hopelessly head over heels in love with Surviving the Rachel. It was magnificent, and I cannot wait to read more from Aven! I really, truly can't!




    



Lost and Found by Brooke Davis

Millie's dog Rambo, was her Very First Dead Thing.


Title - Lost and Found 
Author - Brooke Davis 
Publication Date - 29th January 2015
Publisher - Cornerstone Digital 
Format - Kindle Edition (Provided via NetGalley)

The blurb

Millie Bird is a seven-year-old girl who always wears red wellington boots to match her red, curly hair. But one day, Millie's mum leaves her alone beneath the Ginormous Women's underwear rack in a department store, and doesn't come back. 

Agatha Pantha is an eighty-two-year-old woman who hasn't left her home since her husband died. Instead, she fills the silence by yelling at passers-by, watching loud static on TV, and maintaining a strict daily schedule. Until the day Agatha spies a little girl across the street. 

Karl the Touch Typist is eighty-seven years old and once typed love letters with his fingers on to his wife's skin. He sits in a nursing home, knowing that somehow he must find a way for life to begin again. In a moment of clarity and joy, he escapes. 

Together, Millie, Agatha and Karl set out to find Millie's mum. Along the way, they will discover that the young can be wise, that old age is not the same as death, and that breaking the rules once in a while might just be the key to a happy life. 

Becca's thoughts

I'd like to begin my review by saying a huge thank you to the publishers and Brooke Davis for providing me with a digital copy of Lost and Found via Net Galley in exchange for a fair and honest review. After reading the blurb on Net Galley, I couldn't wait to dive in and lose myself within the story, and when it came to diving back out, I did so with a MASSIVE GRIN on my face! 

In Lost and Found, Brooke introduces us to her character Millie, a six-year-old girl who loved her red wellies and had curly, matching red hair. I found Millie to be absolutely fascinating from the get-go. I couldn't put my finger on exactly what I found fascinating about her, but there was something that made me try to read between the lines whenever the focus was on her. Millie was also intrigued by death, which I found a little strange, but again, compelling. She thought about things that very few other six-year-old girls would think about, and that in turn made me think about them. There was one part in the book where Millie referred to the dash between the dates on a person's gravestone. She mentioned how insignificant that that dash seemed to make a person's entire life seem, and wow, it opened up a whole road of thoughts that my mind swiftly went down. I suppose, in a sense, this book was quite wise, as well as a fantastic journey! Alongside Millie, there was Agatha, a bit of a batty old woman, and Karl, who at times I found to be a little confusing, but enjoyed the company of nonetheless. The characters within Lost and Found were extremely kooky and quirky, utterly entertaining and so enjoyable to read about. The three of them were a fabulous mix of personalities and characteristics, and worked beautifully against each other. 

The plot itself was great! When Millie's mum leaves her in the department store and seemingly disappears, I couldn't believe my eyes! I immediately wanted to know why and how and whether she'd be back or not. The thought of leaving a child alone, anywhere, absolutely terrifies me, and so I was frightened on Millie's behalf as soon as I realised what exactly had happened. A million thoughts flashed through my mind, my own made-up reasons as to why she'd been left alone, and I just wanted to hurry up and find out! When Agatha and Karl came onto the scene, I had a teensy inkling that they were about to go on a journey together, but I had no idea how absolutely fantastic that journey would be! It was invigorating! They steal a van, go on a hilarious train journey, and even have the company of a dummy from the department store. Gah, it was bloody brilliant! I think that up until their journey to find Millie's mum really gets started, it was a little slow, but when it really gets going, it was incredibly enjoyable!

Lost and Found was such a fun book to read, but with a slight underlying seriousness laced within the plot too. After all, Millie is left alone by her mother, and despite all the fun and the laughter, there was always this uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. Millie's circumstances weren't exactly ideal for a six-year-old girl, but Brooke managed to add such a glorious twist to this that I found it impossible not to love! 

Becca's Books is rating Lost and Found by Brooke Davis with four of my yummy cupcakes! A truly enjoyable story with three characters who you will snort and shout at, and a little girl in red wellies who will steal your heart!