BLOG TOUR ~ A Very Big House in the Country by Claire Sandy

Nothing looks as good in real life as it does in the brochure.


Title - A Very Big House in the Country
Author - Claire Sandy
Publication Date - July 30th 2015
Publisher - Pan Macmillan
Format - Kindle Edition (Provided via NetGalley)

The blurb

'Holidays are about surviving the gaps between one meal and another.'

For one long hot summer in Devon, three families are sharing one very big house in the country. The Herreras: made up of two tired parents, three grumbling children and one promiscuous dog; the Littles: he's loaded (despite two divorces and five kids), she's gorgeous, but maybe the equation for a truly happy marriage is a bit more complicated than that; and the Browns, who seem oddly jumpy around people, but especially each other.

By the pool, new friendships blossom; at the aga door, resentments begin to simmer. Secret crushes are formed and secret cigarettes cadged by the teens, as the adults loosen their inhibitions with litres of white wine and start to get perhaps a little too honest...

Mother hen to all, Evie Herreras has a life-changing announcement to make, one that could rock the foundations of her family. But will someone else beat her to it?

Becca's thoughts

Since having read Claire Sandy's debut with Pan Macmillan, What Would Mary Berry Do?, back in 2014 (see my review here), I have been anticipating the arrival of her next novel with baited breath. I was absolutely thrilled when I found the cover of A Very Big House in the Country floating around in the Twittersphere, even more so when I read the blurb, promptly deciding that I would most definitely be reading the author's next book with Pan. The cover, much like the cover of Claire Sandy's previous novel, had me all goggle-eyed and excited, and the blurb even more so, so you can imagine my utter delight when I received an email inviting me along to be a part of the blog tour for the upcoming release of what looked, and sounded, like a marvellous book! I was over the moon, replied with an eager YES, and couldn't wait to begin reading.

After reading the blurb of A Very Big House in the Country by Claire Sandy, I was delighted to find that again, similar to her previous book with Pan, a family theme would very much be taking centre-stage. I've said it before and I'll say it again. If ever there is a novel that is focusing on a family, or more than one family as this novel so smoothly achieves, then chances are I'm going to enjoy it, especially when it's full of chaotic, mischievous and downright entertaining antics that keep me turning those pages As the blurb suggests, the plot is based around three very different families who join each other for a two-week stretch of a holiday in Wellcome Manor, Devon. If the name of the place wasn't enough to make you feel welcome (fabulous play on words, right?) then the beauty of the place will utterly win you over. This was a gorgeously addictive escapist read that completely whisked me away to Wellcome Manor, complete with swimming pool, tree house and sweeping garden. Claire truly brought the setting of her story to life for me, as if the very place itself rose from the screen of my Kindle. It was the most perfect place to escape to, with its impressive rooms, classic furniture and sheer holiday/get-away ambience. I found it incredibly easy to immerse myself within the story, with the help of the author's fantastic descriptions and pleasing imagery. 

The three families that Claire Sandy introduces the reader to as the novel begins to fully open its wings were so interesting, and very different in their own ways. The Herreras, the Ling-Littles and the Browns were three wonderfully, magically crafted families, each full of their own little surprises who definitely whipped the rug up from beneath my feet. There were some members of the families that I immediately warmed to, others that I didn't, but Claire, in her brilliant 'authorly' fashion, led me on, strung me along and somehow managed to change my opinion about almost of these characters at some unforeseeable moment within the novel. It really was a delight to be introduced to each member of each family, all of them complete with their own amusing characteristics, history, as well as likes and dislikes. From the very young to the mature adult, the reader is given a scope on every age and lifestyle of the characters within this book. It really opened my eyes to how easily we can, as readers, be led astray by the author, and it was just brilliant to experience such a pleasing way of storytelling at the hands of Claire Sandy. I was taken by surprise almost right the way through the novel, drip-fed tiny snippets from each characters own private life, handed numerous red-herrings that I so easily believed, and came to know each family as if they were my own. 

Claire Sandy injects so much character, warmth and familiarity into her books. I think I enjoy these family-themed novels so much because quite simply they remind me of my own. The hectic breakfast sessions at the kitchen table, the squabbling, arguing, followed by the inevitable making up. It made me smile, laugh, gasp, grin and smirk, evoked so many warm, happy emotions within me I felt like I, myself, was back at home. Claire achieves, endlessly, that genuine homely, comforting tone that I think we all grow to miss as we get older. As well as that gorgeous tone that resonates throughout the novel, this author always manages to include the life-lessons that we all end up learning one way or another.

Another little aspect that I completely adored about the telling of this story was, between every chapter or so, postcards would pop up, from differing family members staying in Wellcome House, which were being sent back home, whether that be to the neighbours or friends. I particularly enjoyed reading Mabel's postcards, who was the youngest member of the Herrera family. Such a little sweetheart, and adorably amusing too. 

A Very Big House in the Country by Claire Sandy (as well as putting Blur's Country House on repeat in my head since learning of the title) was one of those deliciously engulfing reads that have you so immersed in the lives of the characters within that you completely forget about reality and whatever else is going on around you. These are the types of novels that I love so much, and they are the novels that fire up my passion for reading even more. 

Becca's Books is awarding A Very Big House in the Country by Claire Sandy with FIVE SCRUMMY CUPCAKES! It was one of 'those' books that leave you sitting in a satisfied afterglow, one of those books that are so well told and so completely full of warmth and feeling that you feel completely satiated after turning the final page. I absolutely LOVED it, and cannot wait for more from this fantastic author who is quickly becoming a firm favourite of mine.

*Special thanks to Claire Sandy and Pan Macmillan for providing me with a digital copy of A Very Big House in the Country in exchange for a fair and honest review*


Don't forget to keep up with the rest of the A Very Big House in the Country blog tour!










   

  

  

BLOG TOUR ~ Dear Darling by Ellen Faith

Ellie Darling, PA to Adam Donley. It has a very nice ring to it. 


Title - Dear Darling
Author - Ellen Faith
Publication Date - July 29th 2015 
Format - Kindle Edition (Provided via tour host)

The blurb

'I'm 30 years old and sat celebrating with a greasy pizza and a bottle of cheap plonk.'

On her 30th birthday, Ellie Darling decides that it's time to start a diary. Mainly as a reminder for when she's old and living with cats that she once had a life that wasn't all bad. Even if it was one where at 30 years of age, she still refused to spend that extra £3 on the good wine instead of chocolate.

But when the only proposal she gets is from her boyfriend on Valentine's Day is that of a threesome, she decides that enough is enough! With a new, improved job as a Personal Assistant to one of the most feared Partners at her law firm - one that she doesn't seem able to stop dreaming about - Ellie decides that this will be her year. And if she has to run errands for her boss' neurotic Russian girlfriend or drag her best friend to a sponsored cycle with her now gay first love, then so be it.

Becca's thoughts 

First of all, I'd like to say HUGE thank you to the wonderfully talented author Ellen Faith for providing myself and her readers with yet another fantastic read, and thank you to the fabulous Tay from Chicks That Read for allowing me to be a part of the blog tour for Ellen's upcoming release, the highly anticipated Dear Darling.

It actually hasn't been all that long since I read Ellen's latest release Learn To Love Again, a story which was absolutely drenched in emotion and one that pulled on each and every little heart-string of mine. Despite adoring this gorgeous story, I really couldn't wait for Ellen's next chick-lit release, which was of course Dear Darling. Not that I don't like emotional stories because I most certainly do, but I've always loved the author's style when it comes to chick-lit, take The Story of Us and Home for the Holidays for example. Both were right up my street, and because of this, I was hanging on the edge of my seat, dying to get my hands on Dear Darling. Well lovely little bookish beauties, I'm utterly thrilled to be able to tell you that the wait was completely worth it, because Dear Darling had everything that I love in a good book, and then some. Let me tell you why I loved this story so much.

First of all, the characters. In Dear Darling, Ellen introduces us to Ellie Darling. If her name wasn't enough to make me fall in love with her, then her story pretty much did it for me. From the beginning, I adored Ellie. I loved her sarcasm, her internal dialogue, her witty remarks and the playful banter between her and her best friend Gina. Ellie really didn't have much going for her at all in the beginning, including an idiot of a boyfriend who doesn't offer the proposal she'd been waiting for (and whom I also wanted to smack in the face on Ellie's behalf), followed by a pretty manky apartment previously inhabited by a call-girl whose clients still pop round now and again. It was safe to say that what Ellie needed was something magical to come along and re-ignite her beliefs in happy endings and finding true love. With sassy but loyal Gina by her side, and a few mishaps along the way, it is Ellie's turn to be sprinkled with a little happiness and glitter, and happiness and glitter she gets. Just like in Ellen's previous novels, there was a gorgeous focus on friendship within Dear Darling that I absolutely adored. It was clear from the get-go that Ellie and Gina would be friends for life, and *nudge nudge Ellen*, I'd really LOVE to read Gina's story at some point in the future. The women were always there for each other, throughout the entirety of the novel, and it warmed my heart to see how they constantly had each other's backs, whether that be by Gina turning up on a Friday night with a couple of bottles of wine, or just comforting each other via email when Ellie really should have been working instead. I just loved the relationships within this story so much. They were one hundred percent believable, and so completely honest too, with the friendly banter and handing out of good advice. I felt, even as a reader, that I wanted to become a part of Ellie and Gina's friendship circle, which clearly had one hell of an unbreakable bond. Of course, not all of the characters within Dear Darling were good, honest people. Ellen did such a fantastic job in controlling how I felt about certain other characters within this novel, certain other characters that I was begging Ellie to take a punch at! Some infuriating, some quite obviously jealous and others just plain childish. There was such a great collection of people with secondary stories for me to sink my teeth into, making this book all the more enjoyable. And I really cannot be forgetting the jaw-droppingly gorgeous hero of Dear Darling, Mr Adam Donley, who ends up being Ellie's rather moody new boss. Mood or no mood though, this man was a complete God in a suit, complete with lunatic Russian girlfriend Saskia, and I couldn't wait to see what, if anything, would develop between Ellie and Mr Donley. I had my fingers crossed as I waited with baited breath for their chemistry to reach a point where it could be contained no longer and would explode, because my God there was chemistry, and a deliciously satisfying amount of it. 

The story itself moved at a fantastic pace, keeping me interested the entire way through, whether that be with progressions in Ellie's life, happenings between Ellie and Adam, errands to run, lunch meetings with the girls, office antics and so much more. There was romance, girlish giggles and I found myself completely wrapped up in the world that the author had created. I loved loved loved everything about this book. It was written in true Ellen Faith style, and I'm going to be thinking about Ellie and Adam for a very long time to come.

Becca's Books is awarding Dear Darling by Ellen Faith with FIVE GORGEOUS CUPCAKES! It had everything that I love about this author's work and already I can't wait for the next book from Ellen Faith. Brilliant characters, a brilliant plot and that needed pull for me to continue reading. Top marks from me, Miss Faith. I adored this story. 



Don't forget to keep up with the rest of the Dear Darling blog tour!














BLOG TOUR ~ Secrets at Maple Syrup Farm by Rebecca Raisin

Me leaving for a year? There were about a thousand reasons why it just couldn't happen.


Title - Secrets at Maple Syrup Farm
Author - Rebecca Raisin
Publication Date - July 17th 2015
Publisher - Carina
Format - Kindle Edition (Provided via tour host)
Pages - 384

The blurb

Maple sugar kisses...

Lucy would do anything for her mom... but she never expected to end up promising to leave her. After her mom got sick, Lucy dropped everything to take care of her, working all hours in a greasy diner just to make ends meet and spending every spare moments she had by her mom's hospital bedside.

Now, Lucy is faced with a whole year of living by her own rules, starting by taking the first bus out of town to anywhere...

Except she didn't expect to find her next big adventure just around the corner! Especially when on her first day in town she bumps into grumpy, but oh-so-delicious Clay amidst the maple trees. Surrounded by the magic of Ashford, Lucy has the chance to change her life forever and finally discover a life she wants to live!

Fall in love with Ashford, Connecticut in this dazzling and beautiful romance from bestselling author Rebecca Raisin.

Becca's thoughts

First of all, massive thanks to the author Rebecca Raisin, the tour host Tay from Chicks That Read and the fabulous publishers Carina. I'm absolutely thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for the latest book from Rebecca Raisin, especially since it feels like it's been way too long since I last strolled through Ashford with Rebecca as my guide. I couldn't wait to see what Rebecca had in store me, and the rest of her readers next.

I cannot put into words how utterly gorgeous it felt to be back in Ashford, a place that I have come to know and love as if it were my own home. Everything about Ashford appeals to me and has done since the very first time I was introduced to it, from The Gingerbread Cafe to the salon and bookshop, it has everything a girl could ever want and need, but for Lucy, Rebecca's fabulous new heroine, it may have all of that, but it doesn't have the one thing that she wants beside her. Her dear mother.

One of the things I've loved about Rebecca's writing, right from the beginning, are her beautiful relationships between her characters. In Secrets at Maple Syrup Farm, when Lucy arrives in Ashford, Rebecca begins to bring in the characters from her past stories. We get to catch up with Lil and CeeCee from the gingerbread cafe, Sarah from the bookshop, and we're also introduced to the incredibly dishy Clay too, who I took a particular liking to. I felt so comfortable and at home while reading this book, and bringing the old characters in only intensified that feeling. It was so cosy, gorgeously seductive and all in all, I felt like I was returning home to Ashford after being away for a while. It was fantastic.

Secrets at Maple Syrup Farm is really all about Lucy's story, one that I swiftly fell head over heels in love with. With her sick mum, the last thing Lucy wants is to head off to start her own adventure, but after much persuasion, she realises that she has no choice, and she probably wouldn't hear the last of it either. Before Lucy's Mum had fallen sick, that's what they'd done together. Travelled, never staying in one place for too long, but now, it's Lucy's turn to go it alone. Despite the constant tug and urge of home, Lucy takes the first bus that comes and ends up in Ashford, and hopefully landing herself a job in the process, at the run-down Maple Syrup Farm. It's a beautiful story of setting out on your own, and allowing fate to play its hand, which is exactly what it does. 

There was so much emotion and love within this story, much like Rebecca's previous books, and it's something that I'll always relate to this author and her writing. Rebecca has the ability to completely wrap you up in her world, alongside her engaging, lovable characters and their lives. Secrets at Maple Syrup Farm was everything that I'd been waiting for and more. Complete and utter perfection from a fantastic author who I just know will be filling up my Kindle for years to come.

Becca's Books is awarding Secrets at Maple Syrup Farm with FIVE GORGEOUS CUPCAKES! Rebecca's writing is at a faultless level within this story, with not a single that I could negatively comment on. From her beautifully crafted characters to the utterly charming town of Ashford, this truly is a place that I'd willingly lose myself within again and again and again.



Don't forget to keep up with the rest of the blog tour for Secrets at Maple Syrup Farm!










BLOG TOUR ~ Fairytale Beginnings by Holly Martin

'When you wish upon a star...'


Title - Fairytale Beginnings
Author - Holly Martin
Publication Date - July 10th 2015
Publisher - Bookouture 
Format - Kindle Edition (Provided via publisher)
Pages - 282

The blurb

Love is an open door... except when it keeps slamming in your face.

Hopeless romantic Milly Rose has had her fair share of heartbreak. Obsessed with all things Disney, she refuses to give up on finding her Prince Charming - he's out there somewhere, isn't he?

When Milly is given a job to investigate the origins of a historical building in the village of Clover's Rest, she's not sure what to expect. What she discovers takes her breath away - a beautiful real life Cinderella castle, complete with turrets, a magnificent drawbridge AND a very handsome owner... Cameron Heartstone.

As Milly and Cameron begin to unearth the secrets of Clover Castle, they can't ignore the intense chemistry building between them. But they've both been hurt badly before. Can they take a big leap of faith and find their own happily-ever-after?

Who says real life can't be a fairytale?

Becca's thoughts 

First of all, I'd like to thank Holly Martin (AND WISH HER A WONDERFUL PUBLICATION DAY!!!) and her fabulous publishers Bookouture for inviting me along to be a part of what is going to be an INCREDIBLE blog tour, and also for providing me with a digital copy of Fairytale Beginnings which I loved, loved, LOVED so much I just wanted to drop kisses all over my Kindle as soon as it arrived.  

In the lead-up to digital copies of Fairytale Beginnings being sent out to reviewers, I received a few little mystery envelopes in the post, all twinkly and sparkly and so-super-cute that I couldn't help wondering what delight would soon be following them. It wasn't long until the secret was revealed and everyone was told of Holly Martin's brand new book Fairytale Beginnings and everything fell into place. My favourite of these mystery envelopes had to be the one that contained this beauuuuutiful star bracelet which, as it so happens, is the same bracelet that Holly's female protagonist, Milly, wishes upon whenever times get tough. How special is that? In case you wanted a sneaky peek at the bracelet in question, here it is!


Having this bracelet in my possession only made me feel closer to Milly, and I'm sure that for a very long time, I'll be using my very own star bracelet in times of need too.

So, onto my review of Fairytale Beginnings.

If you know me at all, then you'll know how much of a sucker I am for a fairytale romance. I THRIVE OFF IT! The swooniness, the magic, the dashing Prince Charming, the ball-gowns and the glass slippers. Disney movies have been very firmly stuck in my head since childhood so when I saw the cover and blurb for Fairytale Beginnings, I squealed with happiness and excitement. It's as if Holly Martin, in all of her magnificent authorly glory, came along and granted my wish with her magic wand and I couldn't have loved her more than at that very moment. It gave me an excuse (not that I needed one, let's be real), to let go of all of the stresses and worries of adulthood and retreat into a beautiful world full of wonder and fictional characters with a story that would, no doubt, capture my heart completely, and man was I right. This story had everything that I utterly adore, from the magnificent castle complete with turrets to the ridiculously charming hero who swept me off my feet from the get-go. It had the fairy-tale likeness that I can never get enough of, the intelligent yet beautiful heroine, a castle full of secrets and, yes, you better believe it, it's very own ghosts. OoOoOo! *spooky voice* ARGHHH! And I cannot forget the fact that it also has its very own drawbridge, dark tunnels leading to who knows where beneath the ground and JUST ALL OF THE BEAUTIFUL, MAGICAL THINGS THAT MAKE ME FALL IN LOVE!

*clears throat, pulls self together*
So. To the story itself, like a professional.
As you can probably gather from Fairytale Beginning's blurb, this novel focuses on Milly Rose as she sets out to take a good look around Clover Castle, nestled away in the charming yet slightly bizarre village of Clover's Rest, for the company that she works for, Castle Heritage. To be fair, I was a little bit jealous of Milly's job, mainly because she got to go and visit all of these beautiful, old buildings and, if the buildings in question were truly ancient, mostly from the medieval period, then Castle Heritage would snap them up and fix them up in whichever way they saw fit. So, when Milly finds herself with a broken down car in Clover's Rest, she's mighty surprised to stumble upon a real, true-to-life, fairy-tale castle.

If you've ever treated to yourself to one of Holly Martin's previous novels, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about when I say that Holly's imagination is an absolute delight. I have adored each of her previous novels and devoured them as quickly as possible just because they are so damn attractive. Holly has such a wonderful way with words, her descriptions of anything and everything delight/amuse/intrigue me and in Fairytale Beginnings, I was so thrilled to see that she hadn't lost her sparkle! The way Holly described Clover Castle to me was pretty much how Walt Disney has enchanted me with his movies over the years. I was bewitched as Holly described the exterior and interior of Clover Castle and I had all sorts of girly images floating through my mind as she continued to build up this glorious image for her readers. Think Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty... YES! YES! YES! 

The plot of Fairytale Beginnings was incredibly swoon-worthy and, just to add a hint of adultness to it, deliciously steamy too. Holly's main characters, Milly and Cameron, were fantastically paired and played the roles of Prince and Princess perfectly. Adding to this already heady mixture, there was hot tension, clashing personalities, two bad experiences with love and a rather interfering PA *glares*, but let's not talk about her... What I loved was the fact that Holly switched narratives with each chapter, and in doing so, gave the reader a glimpse into not only Milly's thoughts, but Cameron's too, which is something that I always find super exciting, and just that little bit sneaky. Each character was fabulously developed, each with their own hopes, dreams and fears, and I warmed to them both almost as soon as I'd met them. They were entertaining, made me laugh and even tear up on a few occasions, and made my reading of Fairytale Beginnings all the more enjoyable. Holly couldn't have created more perfect characters for this novel. It was as if they had always been meant to be paired together in this beautiful story and I'm so happy that they were.

Alongside the gorgeous romance, the fairy-tale surroundings and the amusing residents of Clover's Rest, there was also the teasing thread running right the way through the novel hinting towards mystery, discovery and adventure, which mixed the themes up superbly and held me captive as I waited for the next secret to be revealed. It was enticing, enchanting and completely satisfying for any hopeless romantics out there like myself, but with that added scorching heat for the grown-ups who love a fairytale too.

As you can probably tell from my review, Fairytale Beginnings by Holly Martin was absolutely gorgeous in every single way possible, from Milly and Cameron to the magnificent Clover Castle, and from the deliciously teasing romance and tension, to the secrets and mystery surrounding the novel. I felt like I hadn't read a Holly Martin novel for far too long but now I am completely satisfied, although I'm sure in a couple of days I'll be wondering where Holly's at with her next novel... because, you know, I can never go too long without one.

Becca's Books is awarding the glittering Fairytale Beginnings with FIVE SCRUMMY CUPCAKES! From back to front, front to back, I wanted to live within this story and walk the rooms of Clover Castle with my very own Prince Charming! Holly Martin and Bookouture, thank you again for the invite, and Holly, I wish you every single success with what will no doubt be a best-seller!



P.S Don't forget to follow the rest of the blog tour for #FairytaleBeginnings!



       





COVER REVEAL! ~ Natalie K. Martin's Wanderlust

Today on Becca's Books, I'm thrilled to be helping in the cover reveal for Natalie K. Martin's upcoming short story Wanderlust, the second in Natalie's Pull series. Despite being part of a series, Wanderlust can be read as a standalone. I love this cover, it screams SUMMER and POSSIBILITIES, and I think coupled with the title, it has a wonderful effect on any would-be readers. But don't take my word for it. Why don't you have a look for yourself and see what you think? 

Behold, the absolutely gorgeous cover of Natalie K. Martin's new short story Wanderlust...


Wanderlust
By Natalie Martin
#2 in Pull series
Publication date TBC

When Selina gets dumped in a viral YouTube prank, there's only one thing she can do: withdraw her savings, quit her temping job and leave. Vowing never to fall for guys like her ex again, she swaps London for Ibiza and finds herself volunteering in Colinas Verdes. With its alternative, relaxed lifestyle, sunny skies and deep blue sea, it's the perfect place to start her backpacking adventure and forget the humiliation she left behind. If only it weren't for Alex.

Berlin born Alex is travelling solo, and with good reason. In the wake of a promising rock climbing career cut short due to injury, he's left a trail of disappointment and broken hearts behind him. Determined not to make the same mistakes again, he opted to volunteer in sleepy Colinas Verdes over hedonistic Southern Ibiza and with only one week left, it was a choice that paid off, until Selina showed up.

New housemates Selina and Alex are both determined to change, but in a place where people come and go and relationships are intense, old habits die hard.

Two backpackers. One week. What happens in Ibiza...


Meet Selina & Alex

Natalie has also kindly provided me with two fantastic character bios to allow you to get to know her characters Selina & Alex just that little bit more. Go on, you know you want to...



Author Bio


In January 2014, Sheffield born Natalie Martin decided to leave her corporate job in London and experience the world - heading off on travels that would take her as far as Cambodia, North India, Goa, and Thailand, and would change her outlook on life for good. Whilst travelling in India, her debut novel Together Apart, became a No.1 bestseller on the Amazon charts. Love You Better is her second full length novel and is due for release on 1st October 2015.

Natalie's base is now in London, but she is very much a modern day nomad, never quite knowing where she'll end up next. A trained yoga instructor and love of all things French, Natalie is still travelling and indulging in her three loves: writing, yoga and surfing.

You can find Natalie Martin on Facebook | Twitter | nataliekmartin.com | 
Instagram | @scribblywanderer















Au Revoir until September!

Hello, beautiful bookish beauts!
Sadly, Becca's Books (basically me, but in third person) will be disappearing for a little while. There are a few things that I need to deal with at the moment, and I feel that taking a small break from book-blogging will see me right, and hopefully I'll be back in September feeling better than ever!

While I'm away, any agreed reviews for blog tour stops/cover reveals etc. will still be posted, so the blog will be working independently for a little while. Any other reviews that I write will be scheduled for my return in September so that hopefully while I'm away I can also deal with the back-log of books that are patiently waiting for me. There'll also be scheduled tweets for Return to Bluebell Hill popping up occasionally too, just so you're aware!

I cannot thank you all enough for your support for both Becca's Books and my debut novel Return to Bluebell Hill which you've all been tremendously supportive about. I'll also be using the time away to work on #secrettitle2 as well, which I'm very much looking forward to. Is it ridiculous that I feel a little teary as I write this? *flaps eyes* Oh, I know, I'm such a big baby, I just adore you lot, and all of the wonderful books that we get to read, and how lovely you are, so of course I'm going to be emotional about it, right? But this isn't goodbye forever, just for a little less than two months, and then I'll be back, I promise!

If any of you need to desperately get in touch with me, then feel free to email me at beccasbooooks@gmail.com 

If not then, HAPPY READING & Au Revoir until September! xxx




The Lie by C.L. Taylor

Your past doesn't have to define your future.


Title - The Lie
Author - C.L. Taylor
Publication Date - April 23rd 2015
Publisher - Avon UK
Format - Kindle Edition (Provided via NetGalley)
Pages - 461

The blurb

I know your name's not really Jane Hughes...

Jane Hughes has a loving partner, a job in an animal sanctuary and a tiny cottage in rural Wales. She's happier than she's ever been but her life is a lie. Jane Hughes does not really exist.

Five years earlier Jane and her then best friends went on holiday but what should have been the trip of a lifetime rapidly descended into a nightmare that claimed the lives of two of the women.

Jane has tried to put her past behind her but someone knows the truth about what happened. Someone who won't stop until they've destroyed Jane and everything she loves.

Becca's thoughts

BLIMEY! BLOODY BLIMEY!!!

I finished this book just yesterday. I usually give myself at least a few days after finishing such an epic read to gather my thoughts, but in this instance, there really is no point in doing so. My thoughts, as of right now, are absolutely everywhere. Up the wall, down the stairs, scattered across the slabs in the garden. I mean honestly. My heart is still racing, I'm flexing my fingers and allowing the blood to get back to its usual place, due to my fingers having been wrapped around my Kindle for the past hour or so and gripping hard. My mind is utterly reeling from the circumstances that arose within this novel, from the sheer grotesqueness and horror of what was exposed to me, to the tropically humid location of Nupal where parts of the novel are set. This was, without a doubt, one of the most captivating yet shocking books that I've read in 2015. We talk about escapism when reading fiction, and yes, I was definitely snatched away from my life when my head was burrowed within this disturbing story, but there was also a part of me that wasn't sure I wanted to return each time I took a breather, mainly because it was eerie, incredibly unsettling and downright terrifying. Exactly the sort of book which a book-lover will find ridiculously difficult to turn away from.

From the moment I began reading The Lie, I became intensely aware that something just wasn't right. Something was off-kilter, the scales were wobbling because things weren't adding up, and as soon as I spotted the chapter which was titled as 'Five Years Earlier', I knew that I, as the reader, was in for an incredibly bumpy ride. This switching of tense, back and forth, was thrilling to say the least. I didn't dare blink for fear of missing something monumental happening within the story, something that would take me to yet another level of fear and hesitation in continuing to read, and I will admit that my progression of this novel, although quicker than normal, was halted a fair few times just because I felt like I needed to take a step back to breathe easy. I feel I should mention here that this is the very first novel that I have read by this particular author and I'm thrilled to say that it most certainly will not be the last. C.L. Taylor is incredibly talented at whipping up a twisting, turning and teasing story that I was equally disturbed yet captivated by. The tone of the author's writing was so powerful that everything else around me seemed to be dulled down, faded away, while I continued reading. The author knew exactly what to say, at exactly the right moment, to keep me turning those pages, and already I'm looking forward to reading my next novel by C.L. Taylor, especially if the same intenseness within The Lie makes a repeat appearance.

C.L. Taylor explores some pretty deep themes within The Lie, but the one that stuck out to me most was this exploration of friendship. The author picks apart the bonds within the group of female characters in her novel, laying them bare and exposed to the reader, and it was, as well as being slightly too much to handle, completely fascinating. The reader is introduced to the group of women, four friends who, as the story begins to unravel, quite clearly have cracks in what would first appear to be a healthy, normal friendship. Jane, Al, Daisy and Leanne head off to what you'd probably describe as a retreat, right at the very top of a mountain, secluded by gates and fencing. Within this retreat, yoga, meditation and all manner of things take place, but it isn't long before things take a turn for the worst and the hideous truth behind the retreat slowly creeps to the surface. I was shocked to my very core when events took place that had me slapping a hand to my mouth. What first seemed like a good idea quickly turns into a nightmare, and I was absolutely one hundred percent hooked.

Without giving too much away, this novel by C.L. Taylor is one of a kind, a stand-out book from its genre. I was, as the genre would say, 'psychologically thrilled' to be played and tricked at the hands of this author, and would gladly do it all over again, which I plan to do when I begin the next book by C.L. Taylor on my to-read pile. 

Becca's Books is awarding The Lie by C.L. Taylor with FIVE CUPCAKES! This was such a brilliantly delivered novel, one that I will be talking incessantly about to my non-reader boyfriend. I don't even care though. He needs to understand my love for it.






  


Wickham Hall, Hidden Treasures by Cathy Bramley

'Because sometimes magical things happen when you least expect it.'


Title - Wickham Hall, Hidden Treasures
Author - Cathy Bramley
Publication Date - June 25th 2015
Publisher - Transworld
Format - Kindle Edition (Self-purchased)
Pages - 120

The blurb

Holly Swift has just landed the job of her dreams: events co-ordinator at Wickham Hall, the beautiful manor home that sits proudly at the heart of the village where she grew up.

Her first major event is a spring wedding of royal proportions. Holly has every detail covered, so all she has to do is keep calm and carry on...

Easier said than done!

Becca's thoughts

What an absolute triumph, and what a truly delightful beginning to a brand new series from the one and only Cathy Bramley!


Oh, bookish beauts! I really cannot tell you how over the moon I was last night to be delving back into a long-awaited Cathy Bramley title. I was thrilled, I tell you. Absolutely thrilled! Because, since reading Unconditional Love, Ivy Lane and Appleby Farm, it's fair to say that I am completely smitten with this author. The delectably charming worlds that Cathy Bramley so beautifully creates are ones that I wish to live in myself, and the author's engaging, extremely loveable characters never fail to mould themselves a space in my heart. I really, truly could not love Cathy Bramley's books any more if I tried. They are a constant delight and always leave me looking forward to more, and as mentioned above, Wickham Hall, Hidden Treasures was the most gorgeously enveloping way to begin the Wickham Hall series, and despite wanting to read the rest of the series right now, I'm telling myself to calm down because they're going to worth the flippin' wait if Hidden Treasures was anything to go by.

When we first meet Cathy's fabulous new protagonist Holly Swift, she's about to head off to a job interview, but not just any old job interview. Holly Swift is about to head off to a job interview for the job of her bloody dreams! Wickham Hall, the stunning manor home in the village of Wickham where Holly grew up, is on the look-out for an assistant events manager, and if the job description is anything to go by, then Holly believes that she is the perfect fit for the position. Cathy really sold Holly to me within just the first few pages. Just from the internal dialogue, I could tell she was going to be a character that I gelled with immediately. Holly was down to earth, genuine and so warm-hearted, the latter becoming clear when Holly's mother Lucy Swift was introduced to me, complete with her hoarding issues. Cathy highlighted the differences between Holly and her mother, mostly in regards to the way they both liked to live. Holly was meticulous and believed that everything had its place, whereas her mother Lucy had piles of junk heaped everywhere throughout their home Weaver's Cottage. As I imagined it would, the hoarding begins to grate on Holly's nerves as the story progresses. It's not that Holly doesn't love her mother because she truly does, peculiarities included, it's just Holly can see that it's beginning to become a real issue. After reading how Holly reacted to the jumbled interior of her home, I knew, as well as she did, that becoming assistant events manager at the pristine manor home Wickham Hall really was right up her street. As Cathy began to reveal more to me about Holly, I found myself hoping that Holly would be given the job that she so desperately wanted. Not only would she be working in the place she'd adored ever since being a child, but it would give her time away from Weaver's Cottage and the chaos it was coupled with. Holly was loveable, incredibly enthusiastic about the place she loved so much and also a complete heroine in times of trouble, transforming into a one-woman rescuing machine. I adored watching Holly develop throughout the progression of Hidden Treasures, beginning as a faint outline of a character but transforming into a solid woman before I knew it, with her own dreams, fears and hopes. Not only do we meet Holly Swift, of course. In the same fashion of Cathy's previous novels, we are introduced to a whole collection of colourful, unique characters that aid in building up the image of Wickham Hall and the people who spend their time within its gorgeous walls. I was so excited as each new character stepped forward, taking note of their personalities and their positions within the manor home. It quickly became clear also, that each character had their very own little back story to peak my interest even more.

So if the characters weren't enough for me to fall absolutely head over heels in love with, then along comes the absolutely beauuuutiful Wickham Hall, which this whole new series will be based around. I was in awe as I discovered each new room and section of the manor home, lapping up Cathy's picturesque descriptions like an excitable puppy delivering kisses to its owner's face. The sheer grandeur of the home, coupled with the people within, held me captive, and I was delighted to hear about the upcoming seasons that readers have to look forward to with each new part in the Wickham Hall series. Of course, as with any exciting new story, problems crop up that poor Holly Swift has no control over whatsoever, but with her quick-thinking mind and alertness, it's clear to see that she's got everything under control, just as soon as she gets to grips with her sparkly new position as Wickham Hall's assistant events manager.

Becca's Books is awarding Wickham Hall, Hidden Treasures by Cathy Bramley with FIVE GORGEOUS CUPCAKES! I cannot bloody wait for Part Two to arrive and to see what the lovely Holly Swift gets up to next. In fact, scratch that. I cannot wait for the entirety of this series to be released because I just know that it is going to be superb! Cathy's descriptions, her characters and their own, unique circumstances completely reeled me in, leaving wanting more!



 

    





   







COVER REVEAL! ~ Tracy Buchanan's My Sister's Secret

Today on Becca's Books, I'm absolutely deeeeelighted to be taking part in Avon's exclusive cover reveal for Tracy Buchanan's new novel My Sister's Secret. I don't know about you but I am love-love-LOVING this cover. The colours, the title... It just packs a serious PUNCH!

So, without further ado, here is the cover of Tracy Buchanan's My Sister's Secret...


Willow’s memories of her parents are sun-drenched and full of smiles, love and laughter. But a mysterious invitation to a photographic exhibition exposes a secret that’s been buried since a tragic accident years ago.

Willow is forced to question everything she knew about Charity, her late mother, and Hope, the aunt she’s lived with since she was a child.

How was the enigmatic photographer connected to Willow’s parents? Why will Hope not break her silence?

Willow cannot move forward in her life without answers. But who can she really trust? Because no one has been telling the truth for a very long time.


Sounds bloody fantastic, right? EEEEE, I cannot WAIT to dive into this one!








Recipes for Melissa by Teresa Driscoll

How was it she could have something so very precious and be so terribly afraid to read it?


Title - Recipes for Melissa
Author - Teresa Driscoll
Publication Date - June 5th 2015
Publisher - Bookouture
Format - Kindle Edition (Provided via NetGalley)

The blurb

Is it ever too late for the gift of goodbye?

As I write now, you are eight years old - asleep in the bed next door in princess pyjamas, with a fairy costume discarded on the floor.

Twenty-five. The age I had you. The age our story began. And the age, I hope, that will see you truly ready for the things that I need to say to you...

Melissa Dance was eight years old when her mother died. They never got to say goodbye.

Seventeen years later, Melissa is handed a journal. As she smooths open the pages and begins to read her mother's words, she is instantly transported back to her childhood.

But returning to her past in painful and memories of her mother's beautiful face are a cruel reminder to Melissa that she'll never see her again.

As Melissa slowly makes her way through the precious book, reading the snippets of advice and cooking the dishes from the recipes she is also shocked to learn of her mother's secrets - secrets that if shared, could change Melissa's world forever.

Becca's thoughts

First of all, a huge thank you to Teresa Driscoll and her marvellous publishers Bookouture for providing me with a digital copy of Recipes for Melissa in exchange for a fair and honest review. I've had my eye on this book for a while now and I was so excited when I finally reached it after wading through my gigantic to-read pile, so I couldn't wait to dive in! I knew, after reading the blurb, that I was in for an emotional ride and it turned out I was right. Please note: Recipes for Melissa should be read with tissues, ice-cream, and a phone on-hand to call up your nearest and dearest to tell them you love them.

I won't re-tell the blurb, mainly because it's right up there ^^^ for you to have a read of yourself, and secondly because I want to TALK ABOUT THIS BEAUTIFUL STORY! Bookish beauts, it had it all. The emotion, the raw and real sadness, the delicacy of memories resurfacing through the retelling of a story known yet long forgotten. The unbreakable bond between mother and daughter. The unearthing of secrets, the uprooting of the present day, consequences, truths, and above all, love. I knew, after just a couple of chapters into Recipes for Melissa, that I was going to succumb to Teresa's enchanting approach to storytelling, and I was so right. There was something magical about it, yet still it felt real and believable. Something ethereal and charming, yet still, Teresa dealt with serious, life-changing circumstances. It made me cry, it made me smile, it made want to grab all of my loved ones and squeeze them extra, extra tightly, and by the end of it, it made me want to re-live the entire story again. Teresa's writing bursts at the seams with passion and love and I could tell that the author truly put her heart and soul into Melissa's story. There were aspects, emotional aspects that is, that I don't believe could have been told in such a way unless they'd been felt and experienced first hand. The writing itself flowed fluidly and, despite the pace being fantastically set, and I mean this in the best way possible, I would have continued reading even if it hadn't been because I cared about the characters so deeply, was desperate, even, to see how this beautifully moving and inspirational story would end. I already know, after finishing Recipes for Melissa last night, that I will most definitely be keeping my eye out for more exciting book news from Teresa Driscoll. The need, urge, tug, pull (call it what you will) for me to reach the finish line, panting and breathless beside Melissa, is one that I will pair with Teresa from now on.

The characters within Recipes for Melissa were fantastically structured, impeccably put together and absolutely memorable. Melissa Dance, her partner Sam, her father Max Dance and her dear mother Eleanor, all added their own, unique meanings to the novel itself. What I adored most, looking back now, was probably how Teresa chose to tell Recipes for Melissa. As I'm sure you can gather from the title, recipes do play an integral part within this story, mostly because of how easily they can conjure up memories that Melissa had thought she'd long forgotten, by their scents, flavour and even, sometimes, just from the general act of baking. Alongside the gorgeous essence of food and baking came the captivating switching of narratives, not forgetting the added switching of tense too, which I enjoyed immensely. From Melissa in the present day, to her mother writing the recipe/memory book in the past, it was moving, bitter-sweet and oh-so-breathtaking. We also get to see the story from Melissa's father Max's point of view, which gave such an interesting insight to his separate life away from his daughter. This to-ing and fro-ing between then and now reeled me in entirely. I couldn't have put it down even if I had wanted to.

As I said before, I am already dying to get my hands on Teresa's next novel, so I'll be keeping my eyes out for updates and news on that front, but Recipes for Melissa? It is a must-read for every book lover out there. It will take you out of your comfort zone but show you how precious life, and your loved ones are. It will show you how quickly things can be taken from our grasp and, ultimately, it will reinforce the fact that we should never, ever take our lives for granted. We are, after all, delicate, fragile human beings and it is love that sees us through the times when we think we can no longer go on.

Becca's Books is awarding Recipes for Melissa by Teresa Driscoll with FIVE BEAUTIFUL CUPCAKES. A life-affirming, nostalgic, captivating tale of one mother and daughter, whose love for each other echoes throughout the years spent apart.