The Temporary Bride by Jennifer Klinec book review

the temporary bride

The Temporary Bride by Jennifer Klinec, published by Virago, is available now in ebook format and audio download and is due out in paperback THIS WEEK on the 3rd September 2015.

To buy links:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Temporary-Bride-Memoir-Love-Food-ebook/dp/B00IA2E4W0/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1441006417&sr=1-1

Product Details (as per amazon page)

A relationship was a mathematical formula: the correct variables of age, beauty, morality and finances were entered and the output was a successful, peaceful marriage. It couldn’t be, therefore, that their Iranian son could feel desire for someone six years his senior, someone who didn’t come to him pure and untouched. I was an amusing visitor from another world and soon enough I should return to it, fading quietly into an anecdote …

In her thirties, Jennifer Klinec abandons a corporate job to launch a cooking school from her London flat. Raised in Canada to Hungarian-Croatian parents, she has already travelled to countries most people are fearful of, in search of ancient recipes. Her quest leads her to Iran where, hair discreetly covered and eyes modest, she is introduced to a local woman who will teach her the secrets of the Persian kitchen.

Vahid, her son, is suspicious of the strange foreigner who turns up in his mother’s kitchen; he is unused to seeing an independent woman. But a compelling attraction pulls them together and then pits them against harsh Iranian laws and customs.

Getting under the skin of one of the most complex and fascinating nations on earth, The Temporary Bride is a soaring story of being loved, being fed, and the struggle to belong.

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I’d like to thank the publishers for an arc in return for an honest review.

Jennifer Klinec was a well travelled young woman by the time she left her banking job in London to set up her own cooking school in her London flat.  Jennifer was raised in Canada to Hungarian-Croatian parents.  Jennifer’s love of global food started at an early age and her many travel adventures saw her searching for forgotten recipes from foreign lands.  One of her adventures brought her to Iran, not only is the food of interest to her but also the culture of the women in Iran how they dress, how they are perceived in public and private.  Jennifer is introduced to a local woman who invites her to her home to learn from her the art of Persian cooking.  The woman’s son, Vahid, is cautious and intrigued by this foreigner as he is not used to independent women.  A friendship of sorts starts to build between them which develops into more.

This story follows Jennifer’s adventures around food in her childhood and growing up.  It shows the emotions of forbidden love and the struggles Jennifer and Vahid both face with the complexities of the Iranian laws and traditions.

A stunningly, beautiful story, wonderfully written with raw emotions written by only someone who could have experienced the pull of a forbidden love.  It was great to open my eyes to this new world Jennifer was discovering, the food was so different to ours and at one point I had to skip a few lines as I couldn’t face reading about how some of the food sources found themselves on their plates.  The Persian palate is very different to the English palate.  Jennifer is a very brave woman but has had this strength from a very early age.  This strength must have bolstered her in times in Iran when all were against her.  This story is a must read for foodie and romance lovers alike.  It is a testament to believing in yourself and your emotions.  4.5/5*

To find out more about Jennifer Klinec and her book please visit the following link:

http://www.jenniferklinec.com/

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Circling the Sun by Paula McLain book review

circling the sun

Circling the Sun by Paula McLain, publisher Virago, is out today in ebook, hardcover and audio download format.

To buy links:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Circling-Sun-Paula-McLain/dp/1844088286/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1440667174&sr=1-1

Product Details (as per amazon page)

As a young girl, Beryl Markham was brought to Kenya from Britain by parents dreaming of a new life. For her mother, the dream quickly turned sour, and she returned home; Beryl was brought up by her father, who switched between indulgence and heavy-handed authority, allowing her first to run wild on their farm, then incarcerating her in the classroom. The scourge of governesses and serial absconder from boarding school, by the age of sixteen Beryl had been catapulted into a disastrous marriage – but it was in facing up to this reality that she took charge of her own destiny. Scandalizing high society with her errant behaviour, she left her husband and became the first woman ever to hold a professional racehorse trainer’s licence. After falling in with the notoriously hedonistic and gin-soaked Happy Valley set, Beryl soon became embroiled in a complex love triangle with the writer Karen Blixen and big game-hunter Denys Finch Hatton (immortalized in Blixen’s memoir Out of Africa). It was this unhappy affair which set tragedy in motion, while awakening Beryl to her truest self, and to her fate: to fly.

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Circling the Sun by Paula McLain is a fictional story based on the real life of Beryl Markham.  It is a fascinating story on one young woman’s dream to break the mould and do and be whoever she wanted to be.

At a very early age Beryl first experienced heartache when her mother left her and Kenya to return home to England.  It wasn’t until many, many years later that Beryl would find out the truth from this heartache.  Beryl learn’t quickly from this brokenness and was a wild spirit living with her father on the farm in Kenya.  She moved around quite freely with the native villagers and built up a wonderful lasting friendship with a young boy from the village.  They learn’t how to be brave in the outbacks together and Beryl never once thought ‘no’ I can’t do this because I am a girl.  She was very stubborn and fought with her father many times.  However, when the family farm was failing and her father had to admit defeat Beryl agreed with her father to accept the marriage proposal from a neighbouring farmer.  She was only 16 and didn’t know how to love or be loved.

Another journey had begun for Beryl which brought more heartache for her.  Her strength was to be tested many times during her marriage.

During all this time from when Beryl was a young girl with her father on the farm Beryl’s love of horses grew.  She watched her father closely building the horses confidence up to become a great thoroughbred racehorse.  Beryl continued to work with horses on and off with various owners but she struggled to be recognised as an accomplished horse trainer due to her being a woman.

Beryl was a beautiful, brave, wild spirited woman in a man’s world.  She was reckless in life and controversy followed her wherever she went.  Her love life became battered and she only ever had one love but he wasn’t hers to love.

I loved discovering Africa with Beryl, it’s natural wonder, the culture surrounding it.  Paula McLain, the author, described the scenery beautifully, you could picture the sunset, the shadows in the night going about their daily business.  I was truly swept away in Beryl’s world of self discovery, her independence, her fire, her passion, her courage.  A wonderful awe inspiring story.  I am so pleased that Circling the Sun has been written so we can all discover and remember this remarkable woman … Beryl Markham wild spirited adventurer, horse trainer and first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic in 1936.

I’d like to thank the publishers Virago, an imprint of Little Brown UK, for an arc in return for an honest review.  I am so grateful to have been given this arc as I wouldn’t have known or discovered Beryl’s amazing story without it.

An awe inspiring, beautiful tale not to be forgotten.  5/5*

To find out more about Paula McLain and her books please visit the following link:

http://paulamclain.com/

It’s Got To Be Perfect by Haley Hill book review

its got to be perfect

It’s Got To Be Perfect by Haley Hill, published by Mills & Boon (an imprint of Harlequin UK) is available in ebook format and paperback on 27th August 2015.

To buy links:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Its-Got-To-Be-Perfect/dp/0263254089/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1440486993&sr=8-3

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Ellie Rigby isn’t holding out for a hero; she just wants a decent guy

But the promise of meeting thousands of ‘likeminded singles’ has come to nothing and she is fed up negotiating the minefield of one online dating disaster after another.

In a moment of clarity, Ellie realises that she must take matters into her own hands. Her mission? Reclaim.

Cupid’s bow from soulless software and become a matchmaker. As her client list grows, Ellie becomes an expert. She knows twenty eight is the most eligible age for a women, that most relationships fail and, most of all, that it’s got to be perfect.

Until a match with one of her clients changes everything…

cupid-bow-and-arrow-clip-artI’d like to thank the publishers for an arc of this novel in return for an honest review.

Unlucky in love Ellie has resorted to online dating after her engagement with Robert ended.  Online dating wasn’t like the glossy images portrayed on the numerous dating sites.  After countless disastrous dates Ellie decides to become a matchmaker and discover the formula for love.  Ellie with the help of her friends soon starts headhunting for the most eligible men and women, interviewing and profiling them, discovering what men want and what women would love.

What follows is a fun filled read with often hilarious moments and omgee really(?) moments.  I loved the characters the author, Haley Hill, created especially Steve and Mandi and the charming Nick sounded utterly gorgeous.  I loved the idea of Ellies’ name (Elleanor Rigby) and how it fitted so well with her character and the storyline, very clever.

The matchmaking business became a busy 24/7 job for Ellie and she was left wondering whether there was a perfect one for others and even herself …

The storyline flowed really well and I was left entertained with witty lines, glamorous and sexy characters, warm hearted characters, funny quirky characters, a beautiful love story that kept you guessing till the very end.  I am hoping for a sequel to follow up with the characters we learned and loved from this novel.

A fun, flirty debut novel 4.5/5*.  I look forward to more stories from Haley Hill as I believe she has plenty more in her and is one to watch for future bestselling novels.

I’d like to share a particular paragraph from the novel which made be smile …

“You’re the only girl I’ve met online who isn’t a fatty,” he said, getting up from his chair and sitting down next to me.  “But I’d say you’re more a size ten than an eight.”  I forced a smile.  “I don’t mind a bit of meat though” he said, his fingers creeping onto my thigh tongue edging out in anticipation.  His breath smelled of coffee and pickled onions.  I glanced at my watch and then downed my mojito.  This date hadn’t even made it to eight pm.

To find out more about Haley Hill and her books please visit the following links:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Haley-Hill/e/B00NI0EGKE/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

A Time for Living (Polwenna Bay 2) by Ruth Saberton book review

A Time for Living

A Time for Living is the second instalment in the Polwenna Bay series by Ruth Saberton published by Notting Hill Press is available in ebook format from TOMORROW 17th August 2015.

To pre-order links:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Time-Living-Polwenna-Bay-ebook/dp/B00ZSRBEIC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1439716045&sr=8-1&keywords=a+time+for+living

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Is there ever a right time for love?

Feisty horsewoman, Morwenna Tremaine, has always known what she wants from life and success as a three day event rider is all she’s ever dreamed of. Mo has neither the time nor the inclination for love. Even if she did it wouldn’t be with a man who stands for everything she despises…

Beneath a tough and determined exterior, businessman Ashley Carstairs harbours a dark secret that threatens to destroy everything he holds dear. Although aware that he is heading for trouble, he finds himself increasingly drawn to the one woman he knows he should stay away from – for both their sakes.

As the autumn nights draw in and the trickling sands of time gather speed, emotions run higher than the tides and Mo finds herself unable to step away. What is Ashley hiding? Is there more to him that meets the eye? And will his secret destroy everything she now holds dear?

horse border

I’d like to thank the author, Ruth Saberton, for an arc in return for an honest review.

This is the second instalment in the Polwenna Bay series based around occupants of the picturesque harbourside village in Cornwall.  You can find my review of Runaway Summer (the first instalment) here.

Once again Ruth has left my heart bruised after another emotional rollercoaster of a read.  I have to admit after reading Runaway Summer I was desperate to find out what Ruth had planned for the characters I fell in love with.

Book 2 is mainly focused on Morwenna Tremaine and Ashley Carstairs.  Morwenna is a lifelong resident of Polwenna Bay, a fiery red head obsessed with horses.  Ashley Carstairs is a townie, an outsider.  A millionaire businessman who has bought and is currently renovating a second home in the village.  Sparks flew straight away between Morwenna and Ashley, as they fought on issues involving his renovations and the village.  However, deep down the pair shared an understanding and that was an appreciation and desire of achieving their dreams.

What follows is a beautiful but utterly heartbreaking tale of love.  A tale of hope.  A tale of forgiveness.  A tale of happiness.  Also, the story focusses on community spirit with the villagers and beyond coming together in a crisis.  There were some wonderful funny moments which the author cleverly interwove in the text.  Ruth’s books are very readable full of characters to fall in love with, set in beautiful idyllic surroundings and have believable stories.

The epilogue once again has gripped me and has also left me needing to know what happens next.  I’m also a little worried of how this latest arrival will wreak havoc for one of my favourite characters.

A 5/5* heart wrenching and beautiful love story set in a delightful Cornish coastal village.

To find out more about Ruth Saberton and her books please visit the following links:

http://www.ruthsaberton.co.uk/

http://www.twitter.com/RuthSaberton

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ruth-Saberton-Author/117666788262892

The Girl from Cobb Street by Merryn Allingham book review

the girl from cobb street

The Girl from Cobb Street by Merryn Allingham, publisher: MIRA (an imprint of Harlequin), is available now in ebook format and paperback.

To buy links:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1848453760/ref=pd_bxgy_14_text_y

Product Details (as per amazon page)

She longed for a family of her own…

Growing up in an orphanage on East London’s Cobb Street, Daisy Driscoll never felt the warm heart of home. Forging her own way in the world, determined Daisy struggles to make ends meet as the country finds itself on the brink of the Second World War.

Her fortunes change when she finds solace in the arms of Gerald Mortimer, a handsome cavalry subaltern in the Indian army. Finally, Daisy has found someone to love of her very own. But soon she discovers she’s pregnant and fate was never going to give her an easy ride.

Gerald is not all he claims to be and, as he leads her along a path of danger and scandal, Daisy must find the strength within herself to get through her darkest hour.

For fans of Nadine Dorries, Katie Flynn and Maureen Lee.

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This is the first book by Merryn Allingham that I have had the pleasure to read.  The Girl from Cobb Street is the first story in the Daisy’s War trilogy, The Nurses War is the second story and Daisy’s Long Road Home is the third final instalment.  However, each story can be read as a standalone novel however, to enjoy and appreciate Daisy’s journey I would recommend reading all 3 books.

London 1938 Daisy is working in a department store in London on the perfumery counter when she first sees Gerald Mortimer, a handsome cavalry man in the Indian Army.  She is soon charmed by Gerald and after Gerald returns to India Daisy discovers she is pregnant.  Daisy takes an eventual and difficult journey to India to become Gerald’s wife.  We follow Daisy on her journey as she becomes Gerald’s wife and starts her new life in India.  However, Daisy soon realises Gerald is not all he claims to be and soon Daisy’s life becomes embroiled in danger with political and emotional turmoil.

I thoroughly enjoyed this historical romance.  Romance however, was not the main storyline although it was always simmering in the background.  I found the story fascinating with regards to the English Army based in India pre WWII.  It was also interesting how the wives were treated and how they were mean’t to behave.  A lot of unwritten rules for the women were made and it was confusing for a newcomer to understand.  The storyline was gripping discovering the truth behind Gerald.  The author, Merryn Allingham, kept me enthralled all throughout the book. I am now eager to continue with Daisy’s journey and catch up with her in The Nurses War and the forthcoming final instalment Daisy’s Long Road Home.

A gripping, historical romantic 5/5* read.

To find out more about Merryn Allingham and her books please visit the following links:

http://merrynallingham.com/?doing_wp_cron=1439476741.1753010749816894531250

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Merryn-Allingham/828193150541885

The Morning After Memoirs by Kate Michaels book review

the memoirs of the morning after

The Morning After Memoirs is Kate Michaels debut novel and is available now in ebook format, paperback format and is part of the kindle unlimited scheme.

To buy links:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Morning-After-Memoirs-Kate-Michaels-ebook/dp/B011JBZ116/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1439126953&sr=1-1

Product Details (as per amazon page)
Twenty-nine-year-old Jess wakes up on New Year’s Day a touch hungover and a whole lot confused. The man in bed next to her is not her boyfriend, Ben. In fact, she doesn’t even remember Not-Ben’s name. It won’t be the first time she finds herself in a questionable situation in a year that proves her new single-in-the-city lifestyle is far from the glamorous, Sex And The City world she’s been promised on TV. Between hacking through last year’s leg hair, accidentally snogging someone who may well be her cousin, getting hit over the head with a sex toy that isn’t even hers, and ending the night with a walk of shame into her parent’s garage, Jess’s single life is turning out more cockroaches than cocktails.

The Morning After Memoirs is the story of one woman’s search for love, meaning, and a low-calorie alternative to wine.

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I’d like to thank the publishers, Ago Publishing, for an arc in return for an honest review.

This was such a fun, witty read.  It had moments of hilarity; I loved Kate Michaels’ description of all Jess’ friends and acquaintances. Jess’ parents are one of the funniest book parents I’ve read about, such great comedic moments coming from both her mum and dad, classic!  It was a kind of diary style novel going through the year from when Jess woke up from her New Year’s Eve celebrations to the next New Year.  A lot happened for Jess in this year she becomes single, homeless, new job, new friends, new loves.  It was a sexy, fun, rollercoaster of emotions and events for city girl Jess.  A fantastic debut novel. 4.5/5*

To find out more about Kate Michaels and her books please visit the following links:

Masquerade by Joanna Taylor book review

masquerade

Masquerade by Joanna Taylor is available in ebook format and paperback from 6th August 2015 courtesy of Piatkus publishers.image

To buy links:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Masquerade-Joanna-Taylor-ebook/dp/B00SRXRCLC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1438277497&sr=1-1&keywords=masquerade+joanna+taylor

Product Details (as per amazon page)

1786: Regency London. Everyone is hiding something. But someone is hiding everything.

Lizzy Ward never meant to end up working the streets of Piccadilly. So when a mysterious noble pursues her, it seems her luck is changing. But though Lord Hays offers to grow Lizzy’s fortunes, his price is unexpected. She must masquerade in the sumptuous gowns and social mask of a true lady.

With the stakes so high, love is out of the question. But as Lizzy navigates the fashion and faux-pas of the London elite, she finds her tough facade failing her. Lord Hayes wants to show her that nobility is more than skin deep . . . and as the connection between them grows, it’s no longer certain who’s wearing the mask. As the street-girl and the lord collide, Regency London is poised for scandal . . .

A love story of surpassing power and imagination, this is a stunning new British voice in Historical romance for fans of Eloisa James, Julia Quinn, Stephanie Laurens and Georgette Heyer.

masquerade mask

I’d like to thank the publishers and author for an arc in return for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this book.  I was first taken in by the stunning cover which is glamorous but it also shows a hint of mystery. Then the synopsis intrigued me, and also Joanna Taylor is a new author to me but has sold over 150,000 books and has become an amazon bestseller with her first adult romance Spotlight.  So the book has 3 things going for it before I even started reading; a) stunning cover, b) intriguing synopsis, c) bestselling author.

Its the late 18th century and Lizzy Ward (Elizabeth) left the countryside of Bristol looking for her fortunes in London.  However, it wasn’t easy to find a respectable job and Lizzy unfortunately ended up working the streets of Piccadilly.  (In the Regency era in the city of London the streets were rife with young ladies looking to court a rich gentleman to fund their lifestyle.  it was quite fashionable for Lords and rich gentleman to seek the attention of courtesans.  Very often they would ‘show them off’ to their fellow peers).

By chance one night Lizzy met Lord Hays, a mysterious nobleman, that didn’t particularly like London life, preferring the country lifestyle at the family estate.  However, he had a week of business to attend to in London and needed a female companion.  Lizzy received a proposition from Lord Hays to become his companion.  You may think that this is were the book could become seedy however, Lord Hays was very surprising.  I instantly became enthralled and in love with his character.  The way he treated Elizabeth, as he preferred to call her was very sweet and noble.  This side of the storyline reminded me of a movie (I’m not going to reveal which one as Joanna herself at the end of the novel mentions this, and luckily my perception of the storyline was in line with the authors – phew!)

What follows is a beautiful love story.  An eye opening one of lives long ago and how difficult it was to be a woman, whether from the working or upper class.  The story was sexy but not explicit however, the chemistry building up between the characters was evident.  I was gripped by Elizabeth and Edward’s story.

Will love shine through the masquerade?

Will the barriers of class be broken forever in Elizabeth and Edward’s story?

I thoroughly enjoyed this story and I will definitely look out for more work by Joanna Taylor.  A sultry, sexy, mysterious Regency Romance 5/5*.

To find out more about Joanna Taylor and her books please visit the following links:

http://www.catherinequinn.com/