Archive | November, 2011

All I Want for Christmas is …

10 Nov

… to spend a magical time with my family!

I’ve always been a big kid when it comes to Christmas but this year will be extra special as it’s baby Sam’s first Christmas. His big brother Max is three now and already very excited; he’s been learning Christmas songs at nursery and keeps asking if we can put our tree up! So this Christmas for me will be all about enjoying my amazing little family and I couldn’t wish for anything more (sniff!). :-D

By now you are probably wondering what has prompted this little post! Well, today sees the launch of Cally Taylor’s second novel; the festively titled Home for Christmas. The tag-line of the book is ‘all she wants for Christmas is three little words’ and in celebration of the launch Cally has invited bloggers to complete the statement in their own words. You can find out more about the book below and please join in and let me know what you’d like for Christmas in the comments box at the end of this post.

Beth Prince has always loved fairytales and now, aged twenty-four, she feels like she’s finally on the verge of her own happily ever after. She lives by the seaside, works in the Picturebox – a charming but rundown independent cinema – and has a boyfriend who’s so debonair and charming she can’t believe her luck! There’s just one problem – none of her boyfriends have ever told her they love her and it doesn’t look like Aiden’s going to say it any time soon. Desperate to hear ‘I love you’ for the first time Beth takes matters into her own hands – and instantly wishes she hadn’t. Just when it seems like her luck can’t get any worse, bad news arrives in the devilishly handsome shape of Matt Jones. Matt is the regional director of a multiplex cinema and he’s determined to get his hands on the Picturebox by Christmas. Can Beth keep her job, her man and her home or is her romantic-comedy life about to turn into a disaster movie?

Book review: Miss Darcy Falls in Love by Sharon Lathan

9 Nov

(Synopsis provided by the author) Noble young ladies were expected to play an instrument, but Georgiana Darcy is an accomplished musician who hungers to pursue her talents. She embarks upon a tour of Europe, ending in Paris where two very different men will ignite her heart in entirely different ways and begin a bitter rivalry to win her. But only one holds the key to her happiness.

Set in post-Napoleonic Empire France, Miss Darcy Falls in Love is a riveting love story that enters a world of passion where gentlemen know exactly how to please and a young woman learns to direct her destiny and understand her heart.

Sharon Lathan’s Darcy Saga is a series of five novels and a Christmas Novella which follow on from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The latest installment in the saga; Miss Darcy Falls in Love is a companion novel to the main series and follows Mr Darcy’s sister Georgiana as she comes to the end of a Grand Tour of Europe. Set predominantly in France, the novel follows the style of Jane Austen’s original novel and is written in Regency tone and language adding a good dose of passion and romance and I can see why Sharon Lathan has built up such a following amongst fans of Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice.

Despite Pride and Prejudice being one of my favourite novels, I’ve never been tempted to read any of the many spin off novels that exist; I’ve read books based on characters’ love of Jane Austen and recently a modern adaption of one of Jane Austen’s books but not a continuation of the original story. That changed when I saw the lovely cover for this novel and read that it focused on Georgiana who actually has quite a minor role in Pride and Prejudice, but is one of my favourite characters -  I wanted to find out more.

The key story in Miss Darcy Falls in Love is a classic love triangle with the beautiful Miss Darcey attracting the attentions of two very handsome but distinctly different men; the young, fair, handsome, Sebastian Butler who has grown up with five sisters and immediately puts Georgiana at ease, striking up a strong friendship over their mutual love of music and the dashing Lord Caxton, teacher at the renowned Paris Conservatoire music school who literally sweeps Georgiana off her feet with his dark good looks!

While the relationship between Georgiana and Sebastian evolves slowly, the one with Lord Caxton is more whirlwind and I really enjoyed reading her reaction to the two men and was gripped as she made her choice in a dramatic conclusion to her time in Paris! Lathan takes Georgiana as she is described in Pride and Prejudice and develops her as she grows up and experiences more of the world and I thought she did a really good job, keeping the essence of the character whilst allowing her to have her own adventures.

Music features heavily in the novel with each chapter and part taking its name from a musical term or movement. With lively descriptions of place and dress, Sharon Lathan has certainly done her research and, populated with a wonderful cast of characters, her Regency world is one I really enjoyed escaping to. My favourite characters were Mr Butlers grandmother, Lady Warrow with her cheeky sense of humour and naughty asides and Georgiana’s travelling companions the de Valday sisters who are always on the look out for the chance to flirt, shop or party.  I also developed quite a soft spot for the lovely Mr Butler!

Despite five previous books and a novella in the series, I didn’t feel that I suffered as a reader for not having read the earlier volumes in the Darcy saga. Miss Darcy Falls in Love is a very enjoyable romance read and I hope to visit Sharon Lathan’s Regency world again very soon.

4/5

You can find out more about Sharon and her novels at: http://sharonlathanauthor.com/

Book news and extract: Watch Over Me by Daniela Sacerdoti

5 Nov

Daniela Sacerdoti’s debut novel Watch Over Me is released on 15th November and sounds like a fascinating read.

Eilidh Lawson’s life has hit crisis point. Years of failed fertility treatments, a cheating husband and an oppressive family have pushed her to the limit. Desperate for relief, Eilidh seeks solace in the only place she’s ever felt at home – a small village in the Scottish Highlands. There, Eilidh slowly begins to mend her broken heart but soon learns she is not the only one in the village struggling to recover from a painful past.

Jamie McAnena, Eilidh’s childhood friend, is trying to raise his daughter Maisie alone. After Maisie’s mother left to pursue a career in London and Jamie’s own mother, Elizabeth, passed away, he has resigned himself to being a family of two.

But sometimes there is more to a story than meets the eye. Despite their reluctance, curious circumstances keep bringing Jamie and Eilidh together. For even when it seems all is lost, help can come from the most surprising places.

Thanks to Daniela and her publishers you can read the first three chapters of Watch Over Me here: Watch Over Me first three Chapters Extract

October round up and November preview

4 Nov

October – another quick month and another six books read. Interestingly, I’m reading a lot more on my Kindle these days as I find it much easier to hold the Kindle than a book at the same time as holding baby! Four of the books I read were new releases for October.

The books I read were:

October book of the month

An Autumn Crush by Milly Johnson

The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks

Trade Winds by Christina Courtenay

Renovation, Renovation, Renovation by Nell Dixon

Wrapped up in You by Carole Matthews

Highland Storms by Christina Courtenay

My book of the month for October is An Autumn Crush by Milly Johnson because Autumn is my favourite season and I loved the emphasis on family. I found it to be a really emotional and enjoyable read perfect for this time of year.

The three most popular posts in October were:

My review of The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks; Carole Matthews’ guest post on researching her new book and my review of Netherwood by Jane Sanderson.

Searches bringing most people to the blog were:

1. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
2. The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks
3. Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes by Sue Watson

In other October news, I took part in my first blog tour for Carole Matthews lovely Christmas book Wrapped up in You; gave my thoughts on my favourite books from the World Book Night 2012 list, hosted a fab Nicholas Sparks giveaway and made it to 900 followers on Twitter :-)

I also began planning for my Countdown to Christmas in detail in October and am excited to say that I have some fantastic guest posts, guest reviews and giveaways lined up for December!  Countdown to Christmas is my book blogger version of an advent calendar with a Christmas-themed post every day from December 1st to 24th. I did the countdown last year and it was great fun but I’m making it bigger and better this year! There is still time to take part so if you are an author, publisher or fellow blogger and you’d like to contribute a post; be interviewed about Christmassy things, do a guest review or a giveaway or have another fab Christmassy idea, drop me an email at: onemorepageamanda@gmail.com

Coming up in November I’ve got a fab pile of wintry chick lit books lined up with reviews of Maria Duffy’s debut Any Dream Will Do, Miranda Dickinson’s It Started With a Kiss and One Minute to Midnight by Amy Silver. I’m taking part in Ali McNamara’s blog tour to celebrate the release of Breakfast at Darcy’s and I’m also looking forward to reviewing the first in a new paranormal series; Avenger’s Angel by Heather Killough-Walden.

Happy November reading!

Book review: Highland Storms by Christina Courtenay

1 Nov

Who can you trust? Betrayed by his brother and his childhood love, Brice Kinross needs a fresh start. So he welcomes the opportunity to leave Sweden for the Scottish Highlands to take over the family estate.

But there’s trouble afoot at Rosyth in 1754 and Brice finds himself unwelcome. The estate’s in ruin and money is disappearing. He discovers an ally in Marsaili Buchanan, the beautiful redheaded housekeeper, but can he trust her?

Marsaili is determined to build a good life. She works hard at being a housekeeper and harder still at avoiding men who want to take advantage of her. But she’s irresistibly drawn to the new clan chief, even though he’s made it plain he doesn’t want to be shackled to anyone.

And the young laird has more than romance on his mind. His investigations are stirring up an enemy. Someone who will stop at nothing to get what he wants including Marsaili even if that means destroying Brice’s life forever …

Last week I reviewed the excellent Trade Winds and having enjoyed it so much I went straight on to read the sequel; Highland Storms which was released today. I can safely say that if you enjoyed Trade Winds, you will certainly enjoy its successor. Highland Storms picks up the story of the Kinross family some twenty years after Trade Winds and focuses on Killian and Jess’s first son Brice as he returns to the Scottish Highlands to claim his place as Laird of the family estate, Rosyth.

In Brice, the apple certainly hasn’t fallen too far from the tree and readers will be pleased to find out that Killian’s son is as charming, mischievous and adventurous as his father. I was slightly disappointed that Killian and Jess barely feature in this book but I was soon caught up in the events at Rosyth and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know a new set of characters. Whilst I’d highly recommend Trade Winds to anyone, I don’t think you need to have read it first to enjoy this book – it would make a great standalone read as any background information is filled in as the story progresses.

Christina Courtenay has created another feisty and independent heroine in Marsaili and I love that her leading ladies get to have just as many adventures as the leading men. Courtenay is also adept at creating truly nasty characters to thwart her hero and heroine and I was gripped by the lengths Estate Manger Colin Seton would go to to achieve his goals. For good measure, a second particularly evil character; Captain Sherringham is thrown into the mix and the latter half of the novel is full of drama as the the two men try to cross and double cross each other in their plans for Brice and Marsaili, making this a real page turner.

The historical detail and location descriptions in Highland Storms are excellent and Christina Courtenay really captures the sense of time and place in her novels. Set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Scottish Highlands, I also enjoyed the romance side to the story which is quite a slow burner but fun as Brice and Marsaili try to deny their attraction for each other despite the chemistry between them being obvious!

As you can probably tell, I really enjoyed this novel and I’m already hoping there might be more Kinross adventures from Christina in future. Highly recommended!

5/5

Many thanks to publisher Choc Lit for sending me a copy of Highland Storms for review.

If you’d like a taste of this novel you can read the first two chapters on the Choc Lit website at: http://www.choc-lit.co.uk/html/highland_storms.html

You can find out more about Christina Courtenay and her novels on her website at: http://christinacourtenay.com/