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    Book Review: The Fallback by Mariah Dietz

    The Fallback

    Ever since the start of this year, I have suddenly found myself out of the reading rut that I have been stuck in for the longest time. I had felt it slowly weaning off at the end of 2018, but something about the feeling of a fresh start that comes hand in hand with a new year has done wonders for ability to relax and peel myself away from simply binge-watching Netflix for an entire day and feeling so sluggish and disgusting by the end of it.

    I have no doubt that this will all change once my final semester at uni gets fully under way and I am up to my eyeballs with books to read and words to write, but for now, I am reaping the benefits. And that is why I am so glad that the second book I read this year was such a winner.

    About the bookThe Fallback

    By Mariah Dietz

    Publish date: 10 January 2019

    Genre: Contemporary Romance

    Page count: 465

    (ARC provided for review purposes)

    SynopsisBreaking up is hard to do.

    It’s even harder when you’re not expecting it.

    Brooke Jensen is a planner. Not only in her personal life but also professionally as one of the most sought after event planners in Chicago.

    But, when the ideal life she built for herself, complete with handsome, long-term boyfriend and perfect apartment crumbles, she realizes there are some things you just can’t plan for.

    While trying to start anew from her best friend’s guest room and discovering the best doughnuts in the city, an idea sparks to life when she meets Levi. He’s intriguing, funny, and shockingly good-looking, and what had been a few stray thoughts becomes a new passion for Brooke, a blog detailing learning how to be single. The project introduces Brooke to new people and experiences, and keeps returning her back to Levi.

    But, Brooke learns kismet may have been wrong when she learns Levi is the last person she should be interested in.

    Falling for the wrong guy once has Brooke hesitant to start a new relationship, but Levi is quickly proving that The Fallback might be even better.

    TheFallback_banner

    My thoughtsI want to start off by saying that Brooke is a truly wonderful character. I have started writing this review mere minutes after finishing the book, and so it is all so fresh in my mind. I found her strong-minded and motivated, caring and generous, and just an all round great gal, to be honest. I really loved her commitment to work. Sure, she worked herself into the absolute ground but I couldn’t help but admire her ability to juggle a million things at once and be so successful in her field. It is rare to read about a working woman who is doing so well, and it was pretty inspiring actually.

    Now lets talk about Levi. If you read my feature last week on book boyfriends and how they give us an unrealistic outlook on love, but I adore them anyway – then Levi is exactly who I had in mind at the time, although I didn’t realise it yet. I only wish he was introduced slightly earlier in the book. It was around the 20% mark into the book that he first appeared, I think, so I felt like I was just kind of waiting for him to pop up before then. But, not to worry, because he more than made up for it.

    I also thoroughly enjoyed Mariah’s writing style. It was clean and easy to read, and not overrun with clichés (which is one of my absolute pet hates). It is a pretty long book at 465 pages, but I absolutely flew through it in no time at all. The characters were developed well, and I had such a clear image in my head of how I expected them to be. I really loved the dynamic between Brooke and her best friend Felicity. It reminds me of my own friendships and living with my best friend while being at university, which is the most fun. Admittedly, neither of us have young kids running around, but it is how I can imagine our friendship to be in ten years time.

    One other thing that I did pick up – as I am sure many of you would if you are like me – is how crazy it was that Brooke’s blog managed to get so popular so EASY. She doesn’t do anything in terms of promoting, she simply sits down and writes a post when she feels like it about whatever interesting thing she has done now. Don’t get me wrong, it definitely sounds like a blog I want to read. But, the way that she talks about it really just being for her and she doesn’t think she has much of an audience, and then all of a sudden she seems to be getting amazing recognition from it?! This is rather nit-picky of me though, and probably not something the majority of people would pick up on if they didn’t have a blog themselves and therefore didn’t realise just how much work goes on behind the scenes every day. And if that is the only real gripe I have, then that is not bad going.
    About the Author.pngMariah Dietz lives with her husband and three sons, who are the axis of her crazy and wonderful world in Raleigh, North Carolina.

    Mariah grew up in a tiny town outside of Portland, Oregon, where she spent most of her time immersed in the pages of books that she both read and created.

    She has a love for all things that include her family, good coffee, books, travelling, and dark chocolate. She’s also obsessed with Christmas ornaments and all things Disney.

     

    Amazon US

    Amazon UK (available on Kindle Unlimited)

    Goodreads

    Author website

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    Book Review: Christmas Secrets by the Sea by Jane Lovering

    CSBTS Cover ImageIT’S NEARLY CHRISTMAS.

    Actually, I don’t feel overly Christmassy right now which I hope changes in the next three days. Normally I am finished up with university work a lot earlier than I was this year so it seems like Christmas has actually come around a lot quicker than it should’ve. But, I’ve had my Christmas nights out (for both jobs), I have my last shift before Christmas tomorrow and then I’m off for a grand total of three days, so if that isn’t cause for celebration then I don’t know what is.

    Today, though, it is the final stop on the Christmas Secrets by the Sea blog tour – clearly they were saving the best till last (lol).

     

    Christmas Secrets by the Sea

    Book #1 in the Seasons by the Sea series

    By: Jane Lovering

    Release date: 13 December 2018

    Publisher: Farrago Books

     

    About the Book

    Sometimes you don’t get the Christmas presents you imagined…

    Tansy Merriweather is down on her luck. She’s lost her business and her relationship, and instead of a glamorous London apartment, her home is now a campervan on a Dorset beach. And as if things couldn’t get any worse, a scruffy dog called Brian with a taste for sardines has adopted her as his owner.

    When Tansy’s new-found friends at the café in the bay help her to find a job as a location scout for a new TV show, things start looking up. However, she soon discovers that the show’s glamorous star, Davin O’Riordan, is as grouchy as he is  handsome – and just as Brian starts forging a touching romance with Davin’s elegant whippet, Seelie, Tansy begins to wonder exactly what Davin’s fans see in him.

    As Christmas approaches, Tansy and Davin discover each other’s secrets, and a new bond begins to grow between them. But how will they cope with the storms headed their way – and can they save the café from closing?

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    My Thoughts

    This could not have been more perfect to read at this time of year. It wasn’t the kind of fluffy Christmas romance that you may expect it to be, and instead was incredibly touching and special. In fact, it isn’t really about Christmas at all, apart from the time of year that it was set. Christmas books probably have a preconception surrounding them that they can only be read at this time of year, but I actually think this could be enjoyed no matter what the month is because that isn’t really the focus. Perhaps the title is slightly misleading in this way.

    I did slightly struggle to connect with the main characters to begin with, but thankfully this did change as the book progressed and you got to learn more about them and their backgrounds. My favourite characters were definitely single mum Karen and her son Rory though! I absolutely loved reading about their relationship, and could imagine the little café that they worked in perfectly because it sounded so like the one I work in myself whenever I’m back in my little tiny seaside hometown. I also could not shake the image of Jamie Dornan as Davin, which is certainly not a bad thing to happen. Maybe it’s just because they are both Irish. I wonder how Jane Lovering imagined him when she was writing this, but that’s how it turned out in my own mind. Again, absolutely zero complaints there.

    A special mention goes out to the dogs in this book, which I never would have imagined I would be saying. Brian (which just seems like a hilarious name for a dog) was such a fantastic addition to the storyline, and I knew right from the beginning that Tansy wouldn’t be able to resist him when he plonked himself down at her feet and decided to call her his own.

    Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book for its sarcastic sense of humour and easy-flowing style that was a welcome escape after such a stressful few weeks at the end of this semester. I’ll definitely be following the series from now on. A big thank you to Fanny from Farrago Books for inviting me on to this tour!

     

    Buy the book from Amazon – Kindle / Paperback

    Add it to your Goodreads

    Jane Lovering - photo credit to Vienna Johnson

    Credit: Vienna Johnson

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    New In #2

    new in 2 - writing finch (1)How many times in your life have you spoken or thought the words: “I need to stop buying books.”

    Every. Damn. Week.

    The wonderful thing about being back in Glasgow for university is my mum can no longer see how many parcels arrive for me all containing new books and therefore I have no one moaning at me for how much I am spending on them and where on earth are you gong to put them all, Holly???

    I thought I would share with you today some of the books that have been added to my collection recently. I haven’t read any of these yet, but I might do some reviews on any that I have strong feelings about when I have. Let me know if there is any in particular that you would like a follow up on!

    Vagina – Naomi Wolf

    I kept seeing this pop up on Chloe Plumstead’s insta story and earlier this week I finally gave in and ordered it. From the author of The Beauty Myth, this “combines cutting-edge science with cultural history to explore the role of female desire and how it affects female identity, creativity and confidence.” It ” goes to the very core of what it means to be female” and examines the vagina in relation to women’s sexuality. I feel like this is going to be such an interesting read and will be so important in better understanding the female body and mind.

    Crazy Rich Asians – Kevin Kwan

    I feel it is a pretty safe assumption for me to make that every single person reading this will have heard of the film version of this. Like many book lovers, I much prefer reading the book version first before delving into the cinematic performance, so this is pretty near the top of my list.

    The Infinite Pieces of Us – Rebekah Crane

    I think this might have been my choice for November’s Kindle First. I have no idea what it was about, and like to choose my ebook option each month without really reading any of the descriptions so I can really surprise myself and find something I might not have picked otherwise (a method which is working pretty well so far and I can recommend).

    We Were Mothers – Katie Sise

    I feel absolutely no shame in saying that I bought this book for one reason and one reason alone – the beautiful cover. I mean, look at it!!! It also turns out that it is a really well-made book to, and the pages feel so beautifully soft and thick and luxurious that I just want to stroke it and flick through it all the time. The physical act of reading this is going to be so satisfying. This one is about a scandal in a boring, perfect town which makes me picture the Desperate Housewives houses. The “web of secrets” mentioned in the synopsis had me sold.

    The Rule of One – Ashley Saunders and Leslie Saunders

    It isn’t often that you manage to find something in Kindle Unlimited that you have actually heard of before, so I quickly downloaded this while I had the chance. This dystopian novel is set in a version of the United States in the future where they have enforced a Chinese-style one child policy to tackle the population issue. Hence, the rule of one. Naturally, this novel then explores what happens when a pair of identical twins, Ava and Mira, who have been living as one for their entire lives and trading places every other day, suddenly find that their charade has been exposed. This sounds fast-paced and exciting, and I hope it lives up to that.

    ARCs/Review Copies

    HWFG – Chris McQueer

    This is one I actually received to review as part of my role as the Arts editor of my student newspaper, so I won’t be reviewing it on here (but I will still put something up on my Goodreads about it when I have finished it). Chris is a truly fantastic young Scottish short story writer, and his first book, Hings, had me in stitches.

    Heavenward – Olga Gibbs

    I am part of the blog tour for this, and my review stop is on the 10th of December, so keep an eye out for that. A big hallelujah to Melanie who is running the tour for actually giving me a decent amount of time to read it and not three days like you quite often get. Do people not realise we actually have lives outside of reviewing books… Anyway, the synopsis of this doesn’t give too much away, but “a quiet, unnoticeable girl with a hidden strength” has me hooked.

    Korrigan – Rebecca F. Kenney

    I was really interested in the premise of this book but I had to say that I am going to be so crazy busy over the next little while that I wasn’t sure if I would have time to read this and do it justice. But, Rebecca was so lovely and sent me a copy of the book anyway under no obligation to review it. Sometimes doing this would possibly annoy me and would make me feel pressured to do it anyway, but she was really nice in the way that she came across and so I don’t mind in the slightest, and actually really appreciate it.

    The Things We Learn When We Are Dead – Charlie Laidlaw

    I’ve have had this ARC for so long it is beginning to get a little bit embarrassing, but I just haven’t got round to reading it yet. I really need to move it to the top of my list. On the way home from a dinner party, our protagonist Lorna Love gets hit by a car, and what follows is a book about consequences, second chances, memories, and where we go when we die.

     

    Let me know if you have read any of these books, and what I should expect from them! And then tell me I am NOT ALLOWED TO BUY ANY MORE BOOKS UNTIL I READ SOME OF THESE.

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    Release Day: Whiskey Sour by Nazarea Andrews

    Happy release day to Nazarea Andrews for her new standalone novel in the River Street Bar series with Whiskey Sour!

    I haven’t read any of the books in this series before, but I am excited to get stuck into this one over the weekend before my review on Monday 1st October. (Apart from the fact all I can think right now is that it is WHISKY not WHISKEY. I’m Scottish after all. We know our whisky.) Read more

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    COVER REVEAL: Love Sincerely Yours by Sara Ney and Meghan Quinn

     

    Love Sincerely Yours by Sara Ney and Meghan Quinn
    Release date: 9th October
    A sexy, smart, and heart-swooning romance about a girl who has nothing to lose when it comes to flirting with her boss.
    This seductive contemporary romance from bestselling authors Sara Ney and Meghan Quinn will keep you on the edge of your seat as you fall in love with the first novel from this dynamic due releasing October 9th.

    (And woah, talk about tall, dark and handsome. He is exactly what my dad aptly calls The Jaw.)

    Synopsis

    Dear Mister… **strike out** no, too formal.

    Hey there sweet cheeks **strike out** no, too forward.

    To whom it may concern,

    Full disclosure; before we move forward with this email, I would like it to be known that I have consumed an adequate amount of alcoholic beverages to intoxicate myself tonight. Three margaritas, two shots, and one beer – because it was free.

    I think it’s important to be open and honest with your co-workers, don’t you?

    So here I am, being honest. Drunk but honest. Or just drunk with lust? You decide.

    I like you so much it’s clouding my judgement and making me do things I never would sober. Like write this letter.

    I have a hopeless, foolish, schoolgirl crush on you when you are the last person on earth I should be falling for. Did you know people around the office call you a sadist? An egomaniac. An insensitive, arrogant prick. Your bark is worse than your bite, and you don’t scare me. The fact is, I’d love that bite of yours to nip at my bare skin while we’re both wearing nothing but sheets.

    For once I want you to look at me as more than one of your employees.

    And as long as we’re being honest, that navy blue suit you wear? With the crisp white shirt? It really makes me want to loosen your tie and show you who’s boss.

    Love,

    Sincerely,

    Yours.

     

    Initial Impression

    A forbidden romance in the workplace with an arrogant annoying boss (I assume)? YES PLEASE.

    I am thinking that maybe the protagonist writes this letter drunk and then accidentally sends it to her boss, or maybe it just seems like a good idea at the time only to think OH SHIT when she wakes up the next day with a raging hangover and massive regrets (don’t we all know that old chestnut). Either way, I love the synopsis for this, and the rather delightful cover just as much!

     

    About the Authors

     

    Sara Ney is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the How to Date a Douchebag series, and is best known for her sexy, laugh-out-loud New Adult romances. Among her favourite vices, she includes: iced lattes, historical architecture and well-placed sarcasm. She lives colourfully, collects vintage books, arts, loves flea markets, and fancies herself British.

    She lives with her husband, children, and her ridiculously large dog.

    Born in New York and raised in Southern California, Meghan has grown into a sassy, peanut butter eating, blonde haired swearing, animal hoarding lady. She is known to bust out and dance if “It’s Raining Men” starts beating through the air and heaven forbid you get a margarita in her, protect your legs because they may be humped.

    Once she started commuting for an hour and twenty minutes every day to work for three years, she began to have conversations play in her head, real life, deep mal voices and dainty lady coos kind of conversations. Perturbed and confused, she decided to either see a therapist about the hot and steamy voices running through her head or start writing them down. She decided to go with the cheaper option and started writing…enter her first novel, Caught Looking.

    Now you can fin the spicy, most definitely on the border of lunacy, kind of crazy lady residing in Colorado with the love of her life and her five, furry four-legged children, hiking a trail or hiding behind shelves at grocery stores, wondering what kind of lube the nervous stranger will bring home to his wife. Oh and she loves a good boob squeeze!


    (The weirdest author bio I have ever read and will ever publish on my blog?)

     

     

    Pre-order it now!

     

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    ARC Book Review/Blog Tour: WHEN LIGHT LEADS TO YOU by C.R. Ellis

     

    I’m not going to say happy Monday to you all, because is there such a thing? Even if it is a good day, it’s still a Monday and that always makes that little difference. And to make things worse, I am coming down with a bad cold and sore throat (cheers to my brother for that one) and still struggling after a weekend partying (I blame the pink gin). So…hello.

    Today I am pleased to bring you my first ever spot on a blog tour for the release of C.R. Ellis’ latest release in the Forget Me Knot series, When Light Leads to You , a standalone contemporary romance featuring a sexy former detective, a wedding planner and her best friend, and a childhood crush.

    And, better yet, if you read to the end you will find a giveaway to win a signed copy of book 1 in the series and a $10 Amazon gift card!

     

    Synopsis
    JASMINE
    Once upon a time, there was a girl who had a crush on a boy. Eventually, they fell in love. They lived happily ever after. 
    Except they didn’t. Not even close. 
    I’m the girl, but that’s not my story. 
     
    Once upon a time, I fell for a boy, but we didn’t have a happily ever after. In fact, we crashed and burned. Which turned out to be for the best because it forced me to grow up and realise the only wedding bells in my future are the ones I orchestrate for clients. 
     
    For six years I’ve been perfectly content with meaningless, short-lived flings and running from anything that resembles a real relationship. 
     
    That boy? He’s my best friend’s brother, and he’s no longer the boy I fell for – he’s a man I can’t stand. 
     
    Oh, and he’s also my new neighbour. 
     
    DEAN 
    Seemingly overnight, Jasmine Winters went from being my sister’s best friend to being the girl I couldn’t get enough of. But like most things, it didn’t last. 
     
    Things fell apart so suddenly, I’m able to convince myself that summer never happened. At least, I was, until the only distance between us is a hallway instead of a time zone. 
     
    Six years ago, I let Jasmine slip through my fingers without an explanation because I was convinced we’d be better off apart. But now that we are neighbours, our unspoken vow of apathy has unwittingly been shattered. Our exchange consist of trading insults and icy staredowns. But in-between, I catch glimpses of the way she used to look at me, glimpses of the girl I fell for years ago. 
     
    Things are different now, though. This time…I won’t let her walk away without giving me answers. 
     
    WHEN LIGHT LEADS TO YOU IS THE SECOND FULL-LENGTH NOVEL OF THE FORGET ME KNOT SERIES, BUT CAN BE READ AS A STANDALONE. 
     
    *DUE TO THE STRONG LANGUAGE AND THE SEXY TIMES BETWEEN THESE TWO, THIS BOOK IS RECOMMENDED TO READERS AGES 18 AND UP.*

    Review

     

    At the time of reading this, I didn’t actually realise it was book 2 in a series and it really did make no difference that I hadn’t read the first book so you can definitely read it in any order. Now that I do know, however, I will straight onto Amazon to download Jade and Emmett’s story!
    If you read the synopsis above, you will know exactly what this story is about and probably figure out how it all plays out too (I think it gives a little too much away and could’ve been half the length, but thankfully doesn’t take too much away from the novel itself).
    This book came at the exact time when I needed it to, for some light-hearted reading before the heavy year at university that looms ahead. I don’t want that to sound like a criticism to Ellis, because it certainly isn’t, because sometimes what we really want is a romantic story with a happy outcome that doesn’t require a huge amount of thought while reading it.
    I really loved the style that this was written in – switching POVs is always my favourite, because then you really get to know both characters in the relationship rather than a one-sided view. There were also some hilarious little quips at the beginning of each chapter that were an incredibly welcome addition to the novel, and not something you see very often. I highlighted so many of them while I was reading through the novel because they often resonated with me.
    For example: “My ability to function pre-coffee is similar to a toddler’s ability to juggle. Sooner or later, shit gets dropped. Jasmine Winters on why she requires copious amounts of caffeine.
    Or: “What cons? All men might be created equally, but their bedroom skills are definitely not. Jasmine Winters, discussing the pros and cons of premarital sex.
    Jasmine Winters, I do believe you may be my spirit animal.
    I did kind of wish that the novel had started with some of the chemistry between Jasmine and Dean six years ago as, although it does start with a flashback, it goes to the moment it all goes wrong for them without seeing them actually interacting. That said, it isn’t long until they meet up again in the present day and we get to see it then, but it would’ve been nice to have something to base it off of.
    All in all, this was a pretty damn near perfect contemporary romance that they aren’t kidding about when they say recommended for over 18s. It gets pretty steamy. And pretty often. If that is the sort of thing you like, along with some hilarious characters and a romance that we all wish existed in real life, then this is the one for you.

    Available free on Kindle Unlimited (as is book 1 in the Forget Me Knot series), or £2.99/$3.89 to buy.

    Where to buy:
    Amazon UK
    Amazon US

    Add it to your Goodreads to-read list here.

    About the author 

    Getting to know a little bit about the author is quickly becoming my favourite thing about ARCs, something I definitely didn’t expect!
    C.R. Ellis is a Texas native who writes contemporary romance novels with plenty of drama and humour, and just enough heat to ignite e-readers and paperbacks everywhere. She can almost always be found attached to her laptop with coffee nearby and her two trusty canine sidekicks by her side. When she’s not writing or plotting, she enjoys going to concerts with her sweet husband, dragging him along to see rom-coms at any theatre that serves booze, checking off the next destination on her ever-growing travel bucket list, and trying new recipes.
    Her passion for writing stems from her lifelong love of reading, and she often binge-reads entire books in a day. She’s an unapologetic book hoarder, and her paperback collection is rivalled only by her massive shoe collection.
    (And I thought Jasmine was my spirit animal. I take it back. This is her. I have found my Texan self.)
    Giveaway

    Enter the giveaway below to win a signed copy of WHEN STARS CHASE THE SUN by C.R. Ellis (book #1 in the Forget Me Knot series), as well as a $10 Amazon gift card!

    WHEN STARS CHASE THE SUN is Jade and Emmett’s story (Dean’s sister/Jasmine’s best friend and wedding planning business partner).

    Unfortunately this giveaway is open to the U.S. only, but fret not, I plan to be running my own giveaway very soon. Good luck!!

     

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    8 Of The Best 99p Kindle Bargains

    Writing this post has somehow just managed to cost me £6, because apparently I am incapable of compiling a list like this without buying every single book on it minus the two I already owned. It was even originally titled ’15 of the best Kindle ebook 99p bargains’ until I realised the trend and had to stop midway for the good of my bank account. I am the worst for rationalising my purchases by saying that they were only a couple of pounds so it is no big deal. But those few pounds add up when you spend them all the time.

    Whether you are going away on a relaxing beach holiday soon, or simply enjoy the amazing heatwave we are having at the moment, there’s no better time to stock up on some books for your kindle as when there are some crackers reduced to just 99p each. I definitely didn’t need any more books after just buying a box load of paperbacks in the two for £7 deal on Amazon, but I couldn’t help myself (and I’m telling myself I’ll be thankful of it when I have ‘nothing to read’, as if that ever really happens) (also see above paragraph on excessive spending).

    I have tried to keep the list as varied as possible so that there is something for just about everyone. There is the LGBT+ novel that everyone has been talking about lately by Becky Albertalli, as well as one of my favourite books of all time in The Secret Life of Bees. Shadow and Bone is one for all you Sarah J. Maas fans out there (me included now as I have just finished book 1 in ACOTAR), and the hilarious Sarah Millican offers a non fiction option if you like biographies. If you like more of a thrill, then maybe The Missing is more up your street, or The Cows if you are looking for something heartbreaking, yet somehow still witty and entertaining.

    Have you read any of these books already?

     

    THE COWS by Dawn O’Porter
    THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES by Sue Monk Kidd
    THE MISSING by C. L. Taylor
    HOW TO BE CHAMPION by Sarah Millican
    PIN FOR LATER
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