#bookreview: Amber Green Takes Manhattan by Rosie Nixon

Amber Green takes Manhattan Cover
Format: Paperback
Publisher: HQ Stories
Published: 29th June 2017
Pages: 427 Pages
Series: Amber Green #2

The Blurb
Novice stylist Amber Green is taking on the glittering celebrity world of Manhattan one fashion disaster and wardrobe malfunction at a time!

When her TV producer boyfriend Rob announces that he’s been offered a job in New York, filming with the infamous Angel Wear lingerie models, Amber knows its her perfect chance to take the New York fashion world by storm.

But Amber wasn’t counting on unruly toddler photo shoots, clandestine designer handbag scams and a Hollywood star who is determined to wear as little as possible on the red carpet. Until she meets a disgraced former designer who could turn her career around…or leave it all in tatters.

Fun, adventure, glamour and high-fashion make this is the perfect feel good women’s fiction read.

Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book Depository


The Review

We re-join Amber Green in the second installment of her “celebrity” life by following her as she moves to New York with her boyfriend, Rob.

Amber Green Takes Manhattan, as you may have already guessed, is the second in the series with The Stylist being the first. Usually, I’d say read the first book, but with this scenario you’ll be fine jumping straight in. This novel could be a standalone and you wouldn’t feel left out.

Amber and Rob embark on their American adventure quite early in their relationship, but both seem comfortable with the decision to move across the pond. Who wouldn’t wanna move to New York? However, you do sense Amber’s nerves because she is leaving a great job behind, but that’ll be fine, right?

I’ve been reading quite a lot of chick-lit recently, so I wasn’t sure if Amber Green Takes Manhattan would be a book too far. But do you know what? I absolutely loved Amber Green and her ways. Amber is the type of character that immediately becomes your favourite because she’s down to earth, normal and funny – a best friend figure. Not only that but she finds herself being placed into embarrassing scenarios that make you feel for her even more. She is great!

Rosie does this amazing thing where she takes an overly romantic situation and adds in some humour – the perfect combination. I liked Rob and Amber’s relationship because it screamed ‘normal’ and you found it easy to relate to them. Sometimes, it’s awfully irritating if a relationship is soppy and they shout ‘we love each other SO much’ all the time. Yes, I know it does exist, but when you’ve read a variety of books with lovey-dovey couples, it all just feels that I’ve read it all before.

Don’t worry, it’s not just all love and romance, the book has so much more included within: fashion, celebrity life and a bit of fun for good measure!

Amber Green Takes Manhattan had an air of ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’ about it, which is probably because of the New York and Manhattan lifestyle. I’d love to be able to work in New York, how glamorous would it be?! However, you do realise that it’s probably not the best if you have little money – which Amber and Rob experience from time to time.

If you’re after fun, humour and adventure – this book is for you! I’d recommend you reading by the pool or on the beach. Any excuse for a holiday, right? 😉


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#bookreview: The Vets at Hope Green by Sheila Norton

Format: Paperback
Publisher: Ebury Press
Published: 1st June 2017
Pages: 336 Pages

The Blurb
A heart-warming and inspiring story about living the simple life, which readers are already likening to All Creatures Great and Small, ‘like a Sunday Night ITV drama’

Sam has always dreamed of working with animals…

But her receptionist job in a London vets is not hitting the spot. Unsure whether a busy city life is for her, she flees to her Nana Peggy’s idyllic country village.

But despite the rolling hills and its charming feel, life in Hope Green is far from peaceful. On first meeting Joe, the abrupt and bad-tempered local vet, Sam knows she must get him on side, but that is easier said than done…

With her dream close enough to touch, will she get there, or will events conspire against her…?

Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book Depository


The Review

Vet’s receptionist Sam is fed up with the London life and so, decides to up-sticks and move to the countryside to stay with her Nan Peggy for a few months. Hope Green is a small village designed to make everyone feel part of the community – the only downside is that everyone will know your business!

During her stay in Hope Green, Sam encounters the rude temperament of local vet, Joe. When he’s looking after the animals he’s loving and caring, but is he nice to humans? not so much. It takes a while for Sam to comprehend why he’s acting the way he does. It’s in Sam’s nature to want to help people, so it’s no surprise that she tries to soften Joe during her stay.

Visiting Hope Green is a well-needed release for Sam, as she can leave all her troubles behind in her busy life in London. More importantly, she can leave people behind, too! On some occasions I did feel like she was missing London, but when she spent her time relaxing with her Nan and becoming a pillar in the Hope Green community, she softened. I’ve never lived in London, but it’s definitely a place that suits a particular type of person – I’m too much of a country bumpkin to join a busy conveyor belt like London. Each to their own, though!

What I loved most about The Vets at Hope Green was the relationship between Sam and her Nan Peggy. I’m incredibly close to my Nan and I love the time I spend with her, so it’s nice to read someone else enjoying their time with loved ones also. Adding in Peggy’s cute little dog Rufus and you’ve got a marriage made in heaven. I always feel it’s the little attentions to detail that make all the difference.


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#QandA with author Jennifer Bohnet + #bookreview

Little kiosk by the sea cover

Format: Paperback
Publisher: HQ Stories
Published: 6th July 2017
Pages: 275 Pages

The Blurb
One summer they’ll never forget…

Meet Sabine, desperately fighting to save her little kiosk from closure whilst turning down her friend Owen’s proposals, time and time again.

Cue Harriet, returning to Dartmouth after thirty years, haunted by the scandal that drove her away and shocked by a legacy that threatens her relationship with her journalist daughter.

Enter Rachel, the mysterious newcomer who has an unexpected chemistry with a local widower, and who sets in motion a chain of events she could never have predicted…

One thing’s for sure, as the autumn tide turns, there’ll be more than one secret laid bare!


Q and A with Jennifer Bohnet

1. What gave you the idea to create The Little Kiosk by the Sea?
I love Dartmouth and having lived there I know it well. I wanted to write a story set there, based around somewhere that people meet up – but I wanted something different to cafes and bookshops. Then I remembered a friend of mine worked for a couple of summers in one of the kiosks on the embankment taking bookings for river trips and suddenly I had my different place.

2. If you could describe The Little Kiosk by the Sea in just 3 words, what would they be?
Secrets – Relationships – Hope

3. Do you have a friendship like Harriet and Sabine that’s stood the test of time?
I was about to say, no sadly I don’t. I’ve moved around a lot in my life and I’ve lost touch with lots of people. Then I realised that actually I do have a long friendship similar to the one between Harriet and Sabine. My friend and I met when we were both young mums living in Dartmouth so over thirty years ago. We don’t see each other often these days but the internet certainly makes keeping touch so much easier.

4. When I think of the beach it always involves getting an ice cream cone with scoops of Mint choc’ chip or perhaps Rum & Raisin – what flavour(s) would you choose?
Ooh I love this question – and there is absolutely no doubt as to my favourite: Coffee ice cream with a large dollop of Devonshire clotted cream on top and a flake pushed through. Calorific but yummy!

Find out more about Jennifer’s writing at www.jenniferbohnet.com

The little kiosk by the sea tour


The Review

A scrumptious seaside treat packed with love, longing and hope!

I needed The Little Kiosk by the Sea in my life because it filled me with sunshine and seasides. We don’t seem to have much sun for June/July in the UK, so I’m missing it.

The novel has a host of characters that have a connection to Dartmouth – we have brother and sister Sabine and Johnie, newcomer Rachel, plus, Harriet and her daughter Ellie. They each hold a piece of the seaside town in their hearts and it holds some beautiful memories.


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#bookreview: The A-Z of Everything by Debbie Johnson + GIVEAWAY!

The a to z of everything cover

Format: Paperback
Publisher: Harper Collins
Published: 20th April 2017
Pages: 432 Pages

The Blurb
P is for Paris where it all began. J is for Jealousy where it all came undone. But the most important letter is F. F is for Forgiveness, the hardest of all.

Sisters Poppy and Rose used to be as close as two sisters could be, but it’s been over a decade since they last spoke. Until they both receive a call that tells them their mother has gone – without ever having the chance to see her daughters reunited.

Andrea, though, wasn’t the kind of woman to let a little thing like death stand in the way of her plans. Knowing her daughters better than they know themselves, she has left behind one very special last gift – the A-Z of Everything.

Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book Depository


The Review

What a beautifully written story about the loss of a Mother and the re-building of a family saddened by loss.

With all Debbie Johnson novels, you know that you’re sat upon this emotional rollercaster that often leaves you feeling happy, sad, joyous and warmed and The A to Z of Everything is no different. It made me laugh, cry and smile – three things that make for happy reading.

Sisters Poppy and Rose are reunited (maybe the wrong word) by the death of their mother, who leaves them an A to Z quest to being them back together.

Told in the present and past by Poppy and Rose, you read their POVs with insights into their current lives (following the A to Z trail set by their mother), as well as, the past, before their falling out saw them no longer talking to one another.

The a to z of everything book tour poster

It’s no secret that they are the polar opposites – Rose deems herself as the less glamorous out of the two, a divorcee with a teenage son and a “boring” life. Poppy is a successful power-hungry woman who prides herself on her “perfect” lifestyle and appearance.

I wish Rose stopped comparing herself to Poppy all the time especially because she didn’t need to. She had achieved a lot in her lifetime and her son was a credit to her. Yes, Poppy had the money, but that’s not everything and I imagined Poppy thought the same.

The thing I loved the most was hearing about all their memories, and the good times they spent together. Plus, learning about Andrea’s lifestyle as an actress.


Win a copy of the book!

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Widdershins: 1600’s Witchcraft trails

Morning all, I hope you enjoy your weekend – I know I did! Lots of things have been going on in my life, so it’s nice to finally sit down and blog!

Today, I am part of the ‘Widdershins’ tour. Debut author Helen Steadman sees her novel Widdershins published this Saturday (July 1st), which uncovers the story of the Newcastle witch trials of the 1600’s, following apprentice healer Jane Chandler who uses herbs to cure the sick.


Was the Newcastle witch-finder the earliest example of local authority performance-related pay?

The common council of Newcastle, in perhaps the earliest incidence of local authority performance-related pay, is said to have paid the witch-finder twenty shillings per witch.

Things were just as grim down south, where Aldeburgh spent over one-seventh of its annual budget on witch-finding. They had to pay for the witchfinder general, Matthew Hopkins, and a special tax was put in place to raise money.

But it seems that either inflation set in, or prices rose further north. When the Scottish witch-finder fled Newcastle following the trials, John Wheeler stated that he went ‘went into Northumberland, to try women there, where he got of some three pound a-peece’.

Dr Fian engaged in necromancy (Source: Newes from Scotland)

According to John Wheeler, Henry Ogle a former MP seized him, but the witch-finder got away again, this time mostly likely back to his native Scotland. There is a record of him there being paid six pounds for ‘brodding ’ a woman called Margaret Denham at Burncastle near Lauder. In addition to this eye-watering fee, it seems Kincaid also charged a further four pounds for ‘meat and drink and wyne’. More worryingly, two men were also paid forty-five pounds for guarding Margaret Denham for a month. It seems that the witch-finding industry was a most profitable one. Not least, because Margaret Denham was a wealthy woman who had to pay for her own testing and execution, which still left sixty-five pounds following her death.

Sources
Hugo Arnot’s Criminal Trials, appendix, in J. Sands (1881) Sketches of Tranent in the Olden Time, Chapter 3 ‘Witchcraft, 1591’.
Ralph Gardiner (1849 [1655]) England’s Grievance Discovered in Relation to the Coal Trade. North Shields: Philipson and Hare. Ch. 53.
Newes from Scotland (1591) ‘Declaring the damnable life of Doctor Fian a notable sorcerer, who was burned at Edenbrough in Ianuarie last.’ London: William Wright (in Special Collection Ferguson Al-a.36 at Glasgow University).

Be sure to take a look at the previous stops on the tour – they’re fab’ hosts! My review of Widdershins will be on the blog soon!


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#bookreview: Wishbones by Virginia Macgregor


Format: Paperback
Publisher: HQ Stories
Published: 23rd May 2017
Pages: 384 Pages

The Blurb

Feather Tucker has two wishes:

1) To get her mum healthy again
2) To win the Junior UK swimming championships

When Feather comes home on New Year’s Eve to find her mother – one of Britain’s most obese women- in a diabetic coma, she realises something has to be done to save her mum’s life. But when her Mum refuses to co-operate Feather realises that the problem run deeper than just her mum’s unhealthy appetite.

Over time, Feather’s mission to help her Mum becomes an investigation. With the help of friends old and new, and the hindrance of runaway pet goat Houdini, Feather’s starting to uncover when her mum’s life began to spiral out of control and why. But can Feather fix it in time for her mum to watch her swim to victory? And can she save her family for good?

Purchase the book: Amazon UK| Book Depository

The Review

A unique and heartbreaking tale of teenager, Feather, and her mother’s struggle with obesity.

Wishbones is a story told through the eyes of Feather, a girl that has a lot of responsibility on her young shoulders. She’s having to support her mother in her battles with obesity. It’s no secret that her mother is morbidly obese, but people seem to know the reasoning behind her comfort eating – why won’t anyone tell Feather?

Her main goal is to get her mother healthy again, but how can someone be helped if they won’t help themselves? Feather doesn’t overpower or demand actions, she merely supports her mother in anyway she can – bringing a slimming group to her house and cooking her healthier meals; she even tries to rebuild her parent’s marriage – her Dad is struggling too. However, her mother can’t comprehend the changes and gets frustrated with Feather, when all Feather wants to do is help.

I’ve never experienced the level of emotional strain that such an issue can have, so I can only feel for Feather and her determination. To Feather, her mother is her best friend and the only person she can rely on, so when she learns of secrets it’s only natural that she feels hurt. Not only that, but she gets frustrated because she can’t understand why. Surely it’s easy to just stop your unhealthy habits? She’s also scared that her mother is going to die, a feeling you don’t want any child to experience.

Not only was Feather dealing with her family life, she too had emotional troubles of her own. Every teenager has experienced their first love and then equally the heartache of it ending (not all, but most!), which Feather saw coming from new guy, Clay. When he joined the small village, her heart fluttered, but his inner secrets caused their relationship to not develop. Clay had his own struggles with food, which I thought was a great thing to highlight, as eating habits and body image doesn’t restrict themselves to gender – it affects us all.

I’m not going to lie, Wishbones is emotional – particularly the feeling of sadness – but three are elements of companionship and love. The inclusion of characters Jake (her best friend, Mrs Zas and Rev Cootes aids to Feather’s support network and help her in times of solace.


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