Saturday, 29 August 2015

Once Upon A Time

This week I’ve done absolutely nothing. I’ve not even started to read a new book, in fact apart from going to work I’ve barely even left the house at all. Why? Well I’ve become completely obsessed with the TV show, Once Upon A Time. I’ve been waking up purposely early in a morning, I’ve been going to bed late at night, all just to squeeze in watching another episode of Once Upon A Time. When I’m not watching the show I’ve started sitting staring at my colleagues trying to figure out what character they are (for the record I’m fairly convinced that I work with Rumpelstiltskin), the show is just that good that I just can’t get it out of my head.
Once Upon A Time is based upon the stories of your favourite storybook characters, but don’t judge it on that! I’m a huge fan of Disney and all things fairytale and I’ve actually put off watching it for the past 6 months or so solely for the fact I thought it would be just a live action interpretation of some of my favourite Disney movies but it’s not like that at all. The series begins on Emma Swan’s 28th birthday when out the blue her 10 year old son, Henry, that she gave up for adoption turns up on her doorstop. Emma drives Henry back to his town of Storybrook only to discover that she’s not so happy with the woman that Henry has ended up calling his mother. Therefore Emma decides to stay in the town. Little does she know, she’s crucial to breaking a curse that was made by the Evil Queen, 28 years previous. The curse transported all your favourite fairytale characters to a parallel world where they can’t remember anything about their previous lives. They all are now living boring day to day lives without a clue of the past; they all just believe they’ve been there for as long as they can remember. Despite not remembering who they are in the parallel world the characters all have similar jobs/characteristics to the fairytale character that they are which I think makes it fun to try and guess who each character should be. 
The characters aren’t stereotypical. You learn more about each character through present day and also flashback to who they were and how they lived their life in the parallel world. You find out more about their motives and how and why the curse was cast. You find that the bad guys actually have motives to their actions which I find rare in the fantasy genre. The girls are also not the stereotypical characters that need saving either with all of them being able to stand up for themselves fine without Prince Charming coming along to save the day. 
The actors in Once Upon A Time are absolutely brilliant. Robert Carlyle, who plays Mr Gold and Rumpelstiltskin in particular is fantastic. In some scenes his portrayal of Rumplestiltskin is terrifying. I don’t often like young child actors either but Jared Gilmore playing Henry is also great. For his age he is terrific in Once Upon A Time, I’m very interested to see his role progress throughout the series. Truthfully I’ve never seen anything anyone in Once Upon A Time has been in before but they all are superb in this show.
I’m a few years late to the Once Upon A Time party with series one being first broadcast in 2011 but it really is good. When I watched episode one I wasn’t so sure about the show but somehow thanks to the overlapped plots and character stories you’re shown throughout and then the cliff hangers at the end of every episode you are sucked in then before you know it you’ve watched an entire 22 episode series in two days. I’m currently most of the way through series 2 and although I prefer series one I still can highly recommend you watch this show. If you love fairytale stories and want to see them in a new light and don’t mind getting completely addicted to a show then Once Upon A Time is the show for you.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

You Can't Fall In Love With Your Ex (Can You?) - Sophie Ranald

finished reading You Can’t Fall In Love With Your Ex (Can You?) by Sophie Ranald about an hour ago now and I’m still not over it. I can still feel tears in my eyes now, that is how brilliant this book is. 
You Can’t Fall In Love With Your Ex (Can You?) tells the story of Laura. On the surface Laura appears to be living the dream life for a thirty something year old, she has a husband that she is completely in love with, two adorable children and live in a swish area of London as they’re quite well off. It all changes however when in the space of 24 hours Laura is made redundant and her husband, Jonathan gets a promotion somewhat forcing her to make the decision to become a stay at home mum. Jonathan’s new job means he has to work insanely long hours at work and it makes Laura question her life and reminisce about the past. Then through a bizarre twist of fate she bumps into her ex boyfriend, Felix and ends up recapturing her past. Laura ultimately needs to make the choice between whether going back to what is the past is worth sacrificing her marriage and family in the present day.
The book itself flits between Laura’s past and present. At the beginning of the book I found it a little confusing but it really adds to the story. To understand Laura’s present and to see why she stopped dancing and to fully understand just how much in love she was with Felix you need to visit the past. Felix appears in the book just as Laura’s relationship with Jonathan is strained. Felix brings back the old Laura; he awakens part of her that she’d forgotten existed. One of my favourite parts of the book is when Laura meets Felix again at a play of a Midsummers Nights Dream. The play is an immersive one where you wonder around and interact with the actors and sets, Laura is just visiting the play and Felix is a dancing in it. The descriptions of the play are simply wonderful. 
I've read mixed opinions on what people think of the characters but personally I really enjoyed reading about them. I found Laura likeable and I can truely see the attraction she still has about Felix which is exactly what the author wants you to do. Felix and Jonathan are both completely opposite people but that just makes it all the more enjoyable to read.
The only reason I didn’t completely love this book was due to the end. I wanted different outcomes and the end chapter in particular annoyed me a little. However, as I really enjoyed the rest of the book I can forgive the fact I wasn’t so sure of the ending!  
This book gets you completely emotionally attached to all the characters so when it blows up in the book it hits you as a reader hard too. Personally, I absolutely loved reading this book so I will definitely be checking out the authors other books. As for this one, I would certainly add it to your reading pile.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Tamed By The Outlaw - Michelle Sharp

Jessie Jameson is one of the most successful romance authors. Her latest book however draws inspiration from a one night stand she had where she thought the guy had just walked out on her in the morning whilst she was still asleep. This guy wasn’t just anybody, it was Greyson Reynolds who just happens to be the CEO of her publishing company. Ever since then, Jessie has spent her time avoiding the main offices that Greyson works at but now Greyson has turned up at an event Jessie is attending with an offer he doesn’t want her to refuse. 
I read Tamed By The Outlaw in about an hour so it certainly is a quick read. I can’t quite decide if this is what I love about the book or not. It gets straight into the action which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but then on the other hand I would’ve loved to have read more about how Jessie and Greyson acted in the year they spent avoiding each other for example. 
Since becoming CEO, Greyson has become work obsessed. Since replacing his grandfather as CEO, he’s trying to do what he thinks is the best thing to do but now his life seems to have come all work and no play. Jessie seems to bring out the best in him and visa versa. I liked reading the interactions between them throughout the book. I could definitely have read a longer more fleshed out book on them both as they were just both so easy to read about.
I don’t usually like reading short books as I find I don’t get as absorbed into the book but Tamed By The Outlaw got you hooked within the first page or too. I think this book would be perfect book to take on your summer holiday with you. Warning, however if you chose to read this book there is a few sex scenes!
Synopsis -
Author Jessie Jameson is the Bad Girl of romance, making a huge name for herself writing love stories with sizzling hot sex scenes. No one needs to know that her real-life inspiration is sexy publishing exec Grayson Reynolds. Or that after the hottest sex of her life, Grayson walked out on her.

Grayson's finally taken the reins of his family's publishing business, and he's determined to sell off the romance division. But Jessie Jameson's contract is complicating things. It's like she's been trying to ruin him ever since the mind-blowing night they shared-the night she walked out on him.

Now the sparks are flying. Heated, sexy sparks. It's a Wild West showdown between Jessie and Grayson. But when Romance ends up in bed with Business, only one can walk away...   

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Hollywood Ending - Never Ending Summer Tour

They say when you hear a piece of music you can be transported straight back to the time where you first heard it. Well, Hollywood Ending are a band that I associate with when they supported one of my favourite bands and also they remind me of New York City as I saw them when I was on holiday there. Whenever I hear them I get reminded of these things which isn't a bad thing. If you’ve read my blog before you’ll have read my previous posts about tours they have done in the past so it’s safe to say I like this band rather a lot. 

The Never Ending Summer tour is a little different to tours Hollywood Ending have done in the past as this is the last tour that the band will be doing for the foreseeable future. Maybe it’s because they realise it’s potentially the last time they’ll ever tour together again in the UK, but for this tour the band offered fans more opportunities to spend time with them. As well as the VIP soundcheck and meet and greet ticket package, they also are offering ice cream parties before shows. The ice cream parties were much more intimate than the meet and greet, lasting around thirty minutes, with only 5 other fans in attendance at the show that I attended. It’s certainly a strange experience being sat in a room eating ice creams with the band that you’re seeing on stage in a few hours.  
Support for the Never Ending Summer tour came from Six Stories Told and Astro Safari USA, a band that I saw support Hollywood Ending in America last year. I now own Astro Safari USA’s albums so it was great to be able to see them and know the songs that they were performing but for fans that hadn’t heard them before the offer catchy songs which will get stuck in your head for a long time after leaving the show. Six Stories Told were also entertaining. People in the audience were clearly huge fans of Six Stories Told with many flocking over to meet the band after their set had finished.    
Although Hollywood Ending have recently released their debut full length album I felt like the tour was very much a tour where the set list was based on what fans wanted them to perform rather than a show that saw most of the songs being played form the new album. This wasn’t a bad thing at all as personally I thought the set list was fantastic. 
The band came onto the stage to my personal favourite song from the new album, Zero Gravity before leading on to fan favourites One Wish and Not Another Song About Love. The UK leg of the Hollywood Ending tour saw band member Chris rejoining the band on stage after not being able to fulfil the US dates due to prior touring commitments which probably led to the addition of songs such as Grocery Song Rap. My favourite song of the night and I’m sure many others in the crowd of the Never Ending Summer tour was Boyband Song, a song that was put up on YouTube a year ago. This came with the band ditching the instruments and putting on the boy band dance routine that was in the video. Before you know it the tour is finishing up with You and Don’t Let You Down. Considering most of the band had flown in from America just 24 hours earlier they showed no signs for jet lag and kept the energy high throughout.  
I stand by what I’ve said in my previous blogs and more so than ever now you must go see them in concert. All four members of the band are genuinely really nice people and have some serious talent, truthfully I think it’s a shame that they’re calling it a day. If you miss out on seeing Hollywood Ending on the Never Ending Summer tour, I think you should definitely keep an eye out on what they’re doing after the band.
The band still have a couple of UK dates left on the Never Ending Summer Tour so go check out a show if you can.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Sunkissed - Jenny McLachlan

Sunkissed by Jenny McLachlan is book number 3 of The Ladybirds book series. I have the other two books in the series, Flirty Dancing and Love Bomb in my to read pile of books but I just haven’t have the chance to read yet. The series follows around a group of friends but focuses mainly on one of them in each book. Sunkissed is the turn of Kat. The minute I read the blurb I just knew that I had to read this book. 
Sunkissed follows the story of Kat. Kat has the tendency to get herself into bad situations for example she ended up hiding in her wardrobe with her sisters ex boyfriend, which sounds so much worse than it actually was. Despite her best efforts, Kat is forced to go to stay with her Aunt in Sweden as punishment. She quickly discovers that this means that she has to leave her friends and worse of all be stuck on an island that has only one shop and no phone signal or electricity. Of course, soon after arriving on the island she ends up falling for Leo who lives in a tent on the island.
I absolutely loved Sunkissed. The relationship between Leo and Kat wasn’t the main part of the book but there were some really adorable scenes with them both in, some of which wouldn’t be too far out of place in a Disney movie. However, my favourite parts of the book came when friend Pearl came to the island to help Kat participate in a sports competition on the island despite her being the least sporty person in the world. Although they seem to be fairly different people personality wise their friendship was wonderful to read about. They are both loyal and very determined to help the other out when they need help the most.  
As someone who spends way too much time attached to their mobile phone, it made me laugh the extremes Kat went to try get signal, such as sticky taping her phone to her head and swimming to an island as I can imagine myself doing something similar if I were ever to be stuck on a Swedish island.  Slowly but surely though she does start to become less bothered about phone signal and not being able to straighten her hair and really grows as a character. Kat was such an enjoyable and relatable character to read about.
Although I decided to pick Sunkissed up first out of the series due to the fact the storyline interested me more I think I will be checking out the other books in the series soon. I absolutely loved reading Sunkissed, it made me laugh, it made me angry and in some places it just made me feel all warm and happy – what more do you want from a book.
Sunkissed by Jenny McLachlan is out August 13th. Click here to buy from Waterstones.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Sun-Kissed Summer - Marta Brown

I'm very excited to be posting this blog post. Sun-Kissed by Marta Brown sounds like just my kind of book and today I get to share a excerpt from the book on my blog and offer the chance to win an ebook copy of the book too!

Synopsis  -

Summer can change everything.

For shy, bookish Katie Quinn, it just might after an accidental mix-up at the airport on the way to visit her grandparents for the summer leaves her stuck with the wrong suitcase. One full of short shorts, high heels, and absolutely nothing she would normally dare to wear. Until she realizes her newfound look has garnered the attention of Key West’s biggest hottie, Brad-freaking-Garrison, and might just give her the one thing she’s always dreamed of—an epic summer romance.
A romance her summertime best friend only wishes he could give her. But for Oliver, getting Katie to see him as more than just some dumb jock isn’t going to be easy after he agrees to compete against Brad in a kite-surfing competition. And if Brad has any say in it, the prize is Katie herself.
With more than just a contest on the line and a friendship at stake, will this be the summer Katie finds her footing, even if it is in someone else’s shoes?  Will Oliver finally get the courage to tell Katie how he really feels and get out of the friend-zone for good? Or, like a kite in a hurricane, will everything they’ve ever hoped for be lost in the storm?


Excerpt -

With a quick look at the clock on my nightstand, I let out a groan at the ridiculous hour, toss off the covers, and slip out of bed. Thankful for the pair of sleep shorts I found last night that actually manage to cover both cheeks, I stomp down the hall to the top of the stairs.
“So, when you said last night you’d pick me up at six…” I trail off with crossed arms, despite Oliver’s cheery morning smile and what looks to be two cups of coffee
“DP, baby.” He lifts the steaming cup in my direction, giving it a small shake back and forth, like a taunt.
“DP? As in, date practice?” I ask, arching a brow as I trudge down the stairs and snatch the hot coffee from his grip. “You know, six pm would probably be a more fitting time to practice for say, a date. Don’t you think?”
Oliver takes a long sip of his drink while holding back a laugh. “Under normal circumstances, I would say yes, but we have nearly seventeen years to make up for in just one day.”
My cheeks catch fire at the reminder of how inexperienced I am, leaving me to wonder how in the world some silly, fake date is going to help when I’m so obviously beyond help at this point anyway. 
“You know what? I change my mind. I’m going back to bed.” Turning, I manage to take a single step before Oliver’s large, muscular arms wrap around my waist and pull me back against his chest. 
“Oh no, you don’t,” he says, humor lacing every word as he loosens his hold just enough so I’m able to twist around and face him—the small cups of coffee providing the only space between our two bodies. “I have big plans for us today. But, first things first. We have dawn patrol.”
Oh. DP stands for dawn patrol. Wait. What the heck is that?
The look on my face must tip him off to the fact I have no idea what he’s talking about because before I can ask, he shakes his head and laughs. “Dawn patrol is what we call an early morning kite-surfing session. And if we want a chance at winning the contest next week, we need practice. And you know what they say, don’t you?” Oliver grins as he lets the arm that is wrapped around my waist fall to his side before taking a small step back.
“Uh…no. What do they say?” I ask, slightly out of breath and strangely disappointed by the sudden amount of space between us. 
“Easy.” He winks. “Practice makes perfect.” 
Biting my lip, I don’t know if he’s talking about dating, kite surfing, or both. But by the way my heart is beating double time,I’m starting to think Oliver might just be the perfect guy to practice with either way.

Competition -

If like me you are desperate to read the book after reading that snippet I'm offering the opportunity to win an ebook copy of Sun-Kissed Summer! All you had to do is fill in the contact form on my blog with your details stating if you'd like to win ePub (Nook/Kobo), Mobi (Kindle) or PDF version of the book. The competition is open internationally and closes the 26th August with the prize being sent out shortly after. 

Sunday, 2 August 2015

New York For Beginners - Susann Remke

New York City is my favourite place in the world. I love the buildings, I love the people and I love the atmosphere it has which I think is different to other big cities like London. Safe to say the idea of book where a European girl moves to New York sounded just like the kind of book that would be right up my alley. 

Zoe lives in Germany but thanks to her boyfriend dumping her she decides to take up her works offer for her to spend a year working abroad in New York City. With everything going on now just seems the right time to leave her home country. However, before she leaves Zoe vows to not get to get involved with another male again for a while, they're just not worth the hassle. Arriving in New York she is terribly jet lagged and within the space of a few hours she almost sets her flat's kitchen on fire and ends up sleeping with her neighbour. Of course her neighbour wasn't ever just going to be a fling that she could forget about as he turns out to be her new boss, Thomas Fiorino. 

I actually really enjoyed reading New York For Beginners. Overall the book is nothing special but it made me laugh quite abit at certain points but then it also has some pretty heartbreaking moments too. Being someone who has been to New York City I could easily relate to some of the place references but I really enjoyed reading about the life of the rich of famous in this book. Tom is extremely rich to the extent his parents own a house in the Hamptons. Tom takes Zoe to all sorts of luxurious events which I found fascinating to read about.

I've had a quick Google search and I can't see nothing about this book being a sequel but with the cliff hanger ending I can't see it not having one. I just couldn't believe how it ended. Another book is definitely needed, I just have to know what happens between Tom and Zoe. Although New York For Beginners isn't my favourite book, I did enjoy reading it. It only took me a couple of days to read so if you're looking for a quick read I think you'll enjoy this book.

Click here to download the kindle edition from Amazon

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Book Tour. Confessions Of A Queen B* - Crista McHugh

Alexis Wyndham aka Queen B runs an online blog that exposes fellow students at her schools secrets. People know to steer far away from Lexi, to the extent no one dares to sit next to her in class, as they're scared of being her next victim. That is until Brett comes along. Brett is the schools star quarterback and one of the popular guys. For some reason he isn't afraid of her like everyone else in the school and purposely sets out to switch partners with someone just so he can work with Lexi during a class project. He’s sure that there is more to Alexis then what first meets the eye. Before you know it Alexis and Brett start becoming closer and closer thanks to the school project where they have to become parents to a fake baby.

Alexis started writing her blog after her once best friend Summer, betrayed her and exposed her diary for everyone to laugh at. Although I don’t necessarily agree with Alexis finding out the dirt on her classmates and posting it online, I do see why she does it and why she has built up such a tough exterior now. My main worry at the beginning of the book is that I wouldn’t like Alexis at all because of this but once Brett starts to get to know her more you and see her hard cookie outside starts to crumble. She’s also such a funny character, a little quirky and sarcastic, I found her such an enjoyable main character to read about. Interesting I also really enjoyed how Brett wasn’t just the stereotypical sports person. I'm sure that a lot of people will start slowly falling in love with him whilst reading the book. Although Brett's trying to find more to Lexi, Lexi ends up discovering that there is a lot more to him too. Some of my favourite chapters in the book were when we get to read about Brett interacting with his family where his caring side really comes into play.

At first I thought Confessions Of A Queen B* would be a complete stereotypical young adult romance book. Yes, the book has elements where you see a relationship blooming between Lexi and Brett, after all Brett is the best looking person in school and of course Lexi would be hard pushed not to like him. The book is so well written and if the story sounds like something you’d enjoy, you’ll definitely enjoy the writing style. It also had moments that made me actually laugh out loud when reading which is only a good thing.  I also found that a nice touch was at the beginning of chapters when one of Lexi’s blog posts would always start.

I pleasantly discovered when checking out Goodreads that this book is going to be a series - thank goodness! Confessions Of A Queen B* is just screaming for a sequel. I think that it is impossible to read this book without desperately wanting another book there as soon as you reach the end page. I absolutely loved reading this book and I just can’t wait to read the next one. I personally think this is going to be the next book that everyone will be talking about. Confessions Of A Queen B* should certainly be added to your must read pile of books.

Synopsis -

Alexis Wyndham is the other type of Queen B—the Queen Bitch.

After years of being the subject of ridicule, she revels in her ability to make the in-crowd cower via the exposés on her blog, The Eastline Spy. Now that she’s carved out her place in the high school hierarchy, she uses her position to help the unpopular kids walking the hallways.

Saving a freshman from bullies? Check.
Swapping insults with the head cheerleader? Check.
Falling for the star quarterback? So not a part of her plan.

But when Brett offers to help her solve the mystery of who’s posting X-rated videos from the girls’ locker room, she’ll have to swallow her pride and learn to see past the high school stereotypes she’s never questioned—until now.

Purchase Links -

Win -

If you like what you've read about the book and would love to own a copy then enter the competition below to win a signed copy of Confessions Of A Queen B* and $25 Gift Card to the vendor of the winner’s choice. Its open internationally too so everyone is in with a chance of winning.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Tour -

This blog post is part of Xpresso Book Tours. Click the link below to see other blog posts that are a part of the Confessions Of A Queen B* - Crista McHugh book tour