Monday, 27 February 2012

Review of 'Run Rabbit Run' by Kate Johnson

** What it’s about **

Sophie’s in trouble. Must be Tuesday

Sophie Green’s an ex-spy, or trying to be. You wouldn’t believe the trouble she’s in. An MI5 officer has been shot with her gun, her fingerprints all over his office. And no, she didn’t kill him.

But she has gone on the run.

Now Sophie’s desperately seeking whoever’s trying to frame and kill her. She’s being forced to work with the least trustworthy man in Europe, MI5 is following her every move, and she’s had to leave the tall, blond, god of a man she loves behind.

Luke Sharpe works for MI6. Or did, until his girlfriend became a murder suspect.

Doing nothing wasn’t an option, so he started investigating. Who cares if it means jeopardising his career? Sophie’s everything he used to say he never wanted. Young, irresponsible, bright and mad. Now she’s just everything – and she has to live.

She will live, won’t she?

Thank you to Choc Lit UK for the advance copy in return for an honest review (and the accompanying Lindt bunny!)

** What I thought **

Run Rabbit Run is the latest instalment in the Sophie Green Mysteries written by Kate Johnson.  This book is published by the lovely publishers that are Choc Lit UK; an independent brand-led publisher, specialising in fiction with romantic content, where the writing clearly develops the hero’s point of view.  Oh, and have I mentioned before that Choc Lit heroes are always really realllly yummy!

In Run Rabbit Run, we get two delicious heroes (Luke and Jack) and one slightly crazy (quite possibly the understatement of the century) heroine.  I hadn’t read any of Kate Johnson’s previous Sophie Green books and was reassured by Choc Lit that this wouldn’t be a problem, and it certainly wasn’t.  I have to admit, I found her really quite annoying to begin with – she’s an absolute nightmare, a train crash waiting to happen!  But she grew on me, and I adored Luke (and Jack gets pretty scrummy too)!  The storyline soon gripped me and took over any of those early irritations.

The book follows Sophie on the run from a crime she didn’t commit.  Challenging at the best of times, but when you’re on the run from MI5 and MI6 and then the CIA get involved, it becomes an absolute rollercoaster of a ride.  And that is what you get with this book, from start to finish.  It’s packed full of action as well as romance – and sometimes you’ll find yourself holding your breath (for both the action and romantic parts!!).

A fabulous rollercoaster of a read for those who love chick lit with a razor sharp edge.

There are plenty of ways to find out more about Kate Johnson.  She has a blog, Days of the Insane and a website.  Kate also tweets  @K8johnsonauthor and has a facebook page.

Run Rabbit Run is out on Kindle NOW and will be out in paperback on 7th April (Easter Saturday!!).

Review of 'Recipe for Love' by Katie Fforde

** What it’s about **

Take one aspiring cook, one judge and a spoonful of romance…

When Zoe Harper wins a coveted place in a televised cookery competition, she’s thrilled.  It’s a chance to cook her way to fame and fortune and the little delicatessen she’s set her heart on.

The first task has hardly begun when she finds herself with rather too much on her plate.

Not only has she got to contend with the fiercely competitive and downright devious Cher, but she’s fast developing an inconvenient crush on one of the judges – the truly delicious Gideon Irving.

All too soon there’s more than canapés, cupcakes and cordon bleu at stake.

Will Zoe win the competition or is Gideon one temptation too far? And is Zoe really prepared to risk it all for love?

** What I thought **

Katie Fforde has distinctively simple, yet beautiful, book covers and Recipe for Love is no exception. 

I loved the characters in this book, except Cher (I wanted to pull her hair and push her face first into the mud) and Rupert’s parents are hilariously awful!  I also loved the concept of this – it was like a cross between Masterchef and The Great British Bake Off.  If you hate cooking, don’t let this put you off – the book doesn’t require you to be a cooking-lover.  There are certainly some descriptions that will make anybody’s stomach rumble!

The story is wonderfully paced and easily devoured. Katie Fforde has created a warm and wonderful book that will keep you turning the pages until suddenly you find yourself at the end with a smile on your face and wanting more.  This book is delicious romantic chick lit at its best.

** About Katie Fforde **

Katie was born and brought up in London but has lived in Gloucestershire with her family for the last thirty years.  Her first novel, Living Dangerously, went on to be chosen as part of the WHSmith Fresh Talent promotion.  There have been over seventeen novels since, as well as some grandchildren.  Her hobbies, when she has time for them, are singing in a choir and flamenco dancing.  Katie Fforde is President of the Romantic Novelist’s Association.

To find out more about Katie Fforde, visit her website at and follow her on Twitter @KatieFforde

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Review of 'The Legacy of Eden' by Nelle Davy

Thank you to Lucy from Midas PR for getting  Book - Love - Bug involved in this blog tour.

** What it’s about **

If only I had never opened that letter... and let the devil in

 Meredith Hathaway has spent the last seventeen years pretending to forget. Until she gets a letter and her world is shattered in an instant. She must finally confront the rise and fall of the Hathaway dynasty... and her own part in their devastating history.

1946 Iowa. One woman is determined to change her fate. With unwavering ambition Lavinia Hathaway will stop at nothing to ensure that her family succeeds at all costs.

Now Lavinia’s legacy, Aurelia, the once magnificent family home, lies empty, a husk of its former self, a gaping wound of the Hathaways. Unable to resist the lure of buried secrets and bitter memories, Meredith must now face the truth or be destroyed by it.

The door is open... dare she walk into the past?

 ** What I thought **

When I first got my hands on this book, I knew it was going to be something special.  The cover has a luxurious feel; soft and full of depth.  I wasn’t disappointed.

The book opens with a prologue which had me hooked:

I pointed the flashlight into the darkness, punctuating the purple haze of the evening with circles of white.  The air was full of the smell of azaleas and the sound of crickets, and I began to think of how much I would miss my home.  For a moment, I was truly scared of leaving the farm, and I was stricken with both the fear of the unknown, and my desire for it.  I gave up a shudder.
And then I heard it.
The sharp snap of twigs being twisted into the earth.  I swung around and moved off the path, down to the rose garden.  I heard them before I saw them.  His voice was low, half in a whisper, but in the stillness of the night, it carried. 
“Say it,” he urged, and then more forcefully repeated, “Say it!”
And then another noise.  At first, I didn’t even know it was her.  It was a sound I had never heard from her before.
I have relived that night so many times.  Once, I had dared to believe that I was different from my family, that I was the one that did not fit.  But as my grandmother Lavinia, the catalyst for my family’s mottled history, once said, “Blood will out.”
Perhaps you would have made a different choice that night.  If so, your heart would not be heavy with such deep regret.  But knowing who I am, who my family was, how could anyone have expected anything else?”

Now if you’re anything like me, you’ll be hooked already and on your way to amazon to order yourself a copy. But before you go, let me tell you a little bit more....

Chapter 1 is an opening chapter from Meredith, set in the present day, which lays the foundations for the whole backstory.  Meredith narrates.  The rest of the book is divided into sections focusing on other main family members; (Meredith’s grandmother, Lavinia, Meredith’s aunt, Julia and Meredith’s sister, Ava).  Meredith continues to narrate, and these sections of the book flit from the past to the present as the story unravels.

This book is like a mass of tangled ropes; you only need one of those ropes, but you have to ease yourself around the others and slowly unravel and untangle them until everything becomes clear.  This creates a gripping book, which I found incredibly difficult to put down.  For me, the storyline didn’t lag at any point and it held my interest from the first sentence to the last.

Nelle Davy creates a complex cast in The Legacy of Eden, and at times I felt like there should be a family tree lurking at the front of the book to avoid any possible confusion.  The narrator sometimes refers to, for example, “her uncle” whereas other times she will refer to them by name; to start with I found myself pausing to think and confirm “now which one is she talking about?” However, it didn’t take long for the family tree to be engrained in my memory, as Nelle Davy creates deep and remarkable characters.  I think it should be noted though that if you find it difficult to remember characters and their links to each other, you may get a little lost and confused at times – but don’t let that put you off, if anything, just create your only family tree as you go along!

The setting to the story is Aurelia, the family home and the family business.  The place itself takes on a life of its own; it’s like a supernatural force that will ultimately destroy everything.  The detail that Nelle Davy incorporates is exceptional and conjures up some wonderful imagery for the reader.

I did think that the final “Hathaway secret” to be exposed would be more dramatic than it was, but having taken time to consider it, this isn’t disappointing.  The final secret to come out is the one which is alluded to in the prologue, and there are plenty of shocking antics in between that first page and the last.  The final secret is simply the final nail in the coffin, which finally tips the balance; I don’t think the author ever intended it to be incredibly unpredictable and a shock to the reader (there are a few hints along the way).  This book isn’t necessarily about making amends, it’s about the Hathaway family and their history, not about their future.  

Nelle Davy has a very powerful and rich writing style, which is seriously impressive for a 27 year old.  The Legacy of Eden is an incredible debut from an extremely talented young author; Nelle Davy is one to watch!

Question and Answer with Nelle Davy

Thank you to Nelle for taking the time to answer some questions for Book - Love - Bug and its readers:

Book - Love - Bug: What inspired you to become a writer and where did the inspiration for The Legacy of Eden come from?

Nelle Davy: I escaped in stories. I found books to be life rafts when I was a child that I could use to sail away from my home life but I couldn’t always afford books and once, exasperated, my mother told me to write a story myself in order to stop me asking her, so I did. And I didn’t ever stop. Years later on a train ride to University mid term, I was reading I, Claudius and I thought it was such an amazing story about a diseased and ultimately corrupt dynasty that out of supposedly good intentions brought down their own family and all its glory. I kept wondering what it would be like to transpose it to a modern setting and this great estate came into my mind… a beautiful farmland that they would live on and love and die for but which would destroy them. I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I sort of played around with it a bit for a couple of years and then finally when I left University and got a job and felt ready, I began writing it. And just like when I was a child, I didn’t stop.

Book - Love - Bug: Having read The Legacy of Eden, I was surprised to discover you were born in the UK - what made you set this book in Iowa and did it take a lot of research to come up with the detail?

Nelle Davy: It had to be somewhere which had a real connection with the land and somewhere, where a place like Aurelia could exist – which naturally, with its history and scope, was America. I never felt that while writing, I should feel constricted by my nationality and background. If an actress can play any part from any century, why shouldn’t a writer feel the same way? That is why it’s fiction. But it did require a lot of research, predominantly to ensure that while I may not have been American, the book was not an English person’s idea of America, but indistinguishable from American novels. That was my ultimate goal.

Book - Love - Bug: Where did the title The Legacy of Eden come from and how does it fit with the story?

Nelle Davy: It wasn’t the original title. And sadly I did not come up with it, my amazing editor did at the time. They didn’t like my title and I didn’t like their brainstorms and it all got a bit too much like a stalemate. She emailed me in the middle of the night and suggested this and I thought at first, I didn’t hate it and I could understand it’s link to the story. The notion of something aspirational like paradise and how these people fought to create it, got really close, but ultimately failed and what it was like living with that history. It was a title that grew on me over time.

Book - Love - Bug: Can you tell us a little bit about your next book?

Nelle Davy: It is set in Louisiana during the civil rights movement in 1963 and the heightened tensions of race relations. It is so different. My first novel in terms of scope is so small but this is so vast and much more historically weighted.

Book - Love - Bug: Are you a big reader yourself? What are you reading at the moment?

Nelle Davy: Huge! I have 15 books on my bedside table waiting to be read and I love to re-read novels too. Right now I have Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping in my bag. She is a beautiful writer.

Review of 'Rainshadow Road' by Lisa Kleypas

Thanks to Piatkus for the advanced copy in return for an honest review.

** What it’s about **

Lucy Marinn is a glass artist living in beautiful, inspiring Friday Harbour, Washington. Creatively fulfilled and engaged to be married, she is content with her life, until she is stunned by the worst kind of betrayal: her fiancé Kevin announces he's leaving Lucy to be with her younger sister.

Facing the disapproval of Lucy's parents, Kevin asks his friend Sam Nolan, one of the owners of the Rainshadow vineyard, to 'romance' Lucy and help her get over her anger. But when Sam and Lucy begin to fall in love, things become complicated, especially when Kevin starts to have second thoughts. And when Lucy discovers that the new relationship in her life began under false pretences, her world is shattered, and she is forced to question everything.

** What I thought **

Rainshadow Road has one of those gorgeous covers which invites you in, and makes you want to curl up in front of a fire (or lounge on a sunbed in your garden) before you start reading.  I definitely judged this book by its cover and I was right – it’s as gorgeous inside as it is out!

Lisa Kleypas brings out the characters emotions within you with ease and you swiftly take a dislike to certain characters whilst instantly warming to others.  I loved the unique occupation of Lucy – this allowed Lisa Kleypas to provide the reader with some rather vivid imagery.  The imagery from the vineyard is also fantastic and it made me want to go and immerse myself in Friday Harbour.

There are also some truly heart-warming moments to this book, centred on Holly, which had me in tears.  The romance in this is also gorgeously written – the struggle and battling of feelings that, let’s face it, are always going to win.  Sam is just gorgeous, I want him and his body to carry me around the house in my hour of need.  He’s geeky, but in the most sexy way possible!

My *only* complaint about this book would be that the synopsis isn’t exactly accurate.  The synopsis states that Kevin is Lucy’s fiancé – yet in the book she only ever refers to him as her boyfriend – there is no mention of them being engaged at any point.  I also thought the bit about Kevin trying to set Lucy up with Sam was a bit misleading.

Rainshadow Road is the first in Lisa Kleypas’s new Friday Harbour trilogy.  I, for one, cannot wait for more!  You can follow Lisa on twitter @LisaKleypas and visit her website for more information on Lisa and her books.

Review of 'Star Fish' by Nicola May

** What it’s about **

Amy Anderson has a plan.  To find her “sole mate” by dating her way through the twelve signs of the zodiac.

Tired of looking for love, the dreamy Piscean decides that an astrological dating agency is the only way to meet the man of her dreams.

So who will finally woo Amy during the hysterical search? Will it be Ted the Arian photography with a passion for ice-skating, or maybe Laurence, the Libran IT whiz kid who likes to get behind the wheel of a fast car? Or how about Capricornian Christopher, the owner of Starr & Sun, the dating agency?

You’ll be kept guessing until the very last page!

** What I thought **

Nicola May is a self-published author; something I admire her massively for.  Having read Working It Out (you can read my review of that book here) and now, Star Fish, I’m amazed that she hasn’t been picked up by a big publishing house. Seriously guys....sort it out!

Nicola May has followed in the footsteps of her debut novel Working It Out but this time instead of job-hunting, we are man-hunting.  I found it a little harder to get into Star Fish than Working It Out – I have to admit I missed Gorgeous George and his banter!  But once I’d got into it, I was hooked.  

As Amy dates her way through the star signs, there are some hilarious encounters, some cringeworthy ones and some rather steamy ones too.  Nicola May will have you rooting for the good guys, and knowing that others are going to trip themselves at the first hurdle!  The book is packed full of vibrant characters – I loved Brad and despite everything, I also had a bit of a thing for “Declan”. The ending isn't predictable; you'll be wondering "will she, won't she" up until the very last minute!

This is a wonderfully fun and light-hearted read that will leave you with a smile on your face.  Other things I love about Nicola are that she is a local girl (she lives in Berkshire) and this comes out in her books.  I also love that she incorporates her love of cats into her books!

Whatever you do, don't let the fact that Nicola is self-published put you off.  Working It Out and Star Fish are publishing-house-quality books and I've certainly enjoyed them more than some recent chick lit books from the big publishing houses! Invest and enjoy.....!

You can find out more about Nicola and her books at and you can follow her on twitter too @NicolaMay1

Monday, 6 February 2012

Review of This is a Love Story by Jessica Thompson

** What it's about **

This is a love story. 

Boy meets girl and girl falls for boy - that much is true. 

But when Sienna meets Nick it's not the way it happens in love stories. It's because of a squirrel on water skis...

She sees Nick's dangerous brown eyes and thinks,





Who will be there to catch Siena when she falls? She is so fragile. She has so many secrets, and he is not that serious.

Funny and sad, this is the story of two people destined never to come together in the great love affair they crave more than anything else.

** What I thought **

This is a Love Story is described as a “quirky modern love story reminiscent of 500 Days of Summer”.

I have to start by mentioning the cover of this book which is just gorgeous.

This story spans about 5 years; it certainly isn’t a whirlwind fantasy.  I have to admit, at times I did find that it was kind of dragged out in that I wanted to bash their heads together and make them realise just what the other person saw.  I can understand how some people would find these extremely frustrating, but then I guess that’s the point, the course of true love doesn’t run smooth, we don’t all have whirlwind romances that pan out just the way they do in the movies.  The tagline for this book is “but not every story is the same” and so this is the story of Nick and Sienna.

I was hooked to the story early on.  I’m a sucker for romance, so when Nick and Sienna’s eyes meet on a crowded train, I had exceptionally high hopes for this stunningly beautiful girl and this gorgeous man with dangerous brown eyes that you could just fall into.

However, this isn’t JUST a love story.  It also deals with narcolepsy and cataplexy and homelessness; there are some very thought-provoking and moving chapters within this book.  I don’t want to say much more, as you need to experience it for yourself.

Jessica Thompson has a wonderful witty style of writing, and I often found myself smiling or giggling along to this book.  The character of Sienna is an old head on young shoulders, and I found her very easy to warm to.  At times I found Nick extremely shallow; within the same sentence he would often switch from being totally in love with Sienna to considering how gorgeous other girls were.  This meant that at times I wanted to smack him, but generally I warmed to him and was dying for him to take Sienna in his arms and tell her how he felt.

I think 2012 is going to the year where I discover some fantastic debuts, and I’m definitely adding this one to my list.  Despite the frustrations of the long time line of this book, I very much enjoyed it and will certainly be looking out for Jessica Thompson’s next book. This is a Love Story left me wanting more.

For your chance to win a copy of "This is a Love Story" by Jessica Thompson, follow the Rafflecopter instructions in the giveaway post.  Closes 9th Feb.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Valentines Giveaway

This is a Love Story
 Valentine’s Competition

When I first saw this book cover and title, I instantly thought of the film 500 Days of Summer which I believe has the opening line "This is NOT a love story...".  Having just received This is a Love Story, the opening line is of the press release is "A quirky modern love story reminiscent of 500 Days of Summer" so I am now even more excited to read it.

** What it's about **

This is a love story. 

Boy meets girl and girl falls for boy - that much is true. 

But when Sienna meets Nick it's not the way it happens in love stories. It's because of a squirrel on water skis... 

She sees Nick's dangerous brown eyes and thinks, 





Who will be there to catch Siena when she falls? She is so fragile. She has so many secrets, and he is not that serious. 

Funny and sad, this is the story of two people destined never to come together in the great love affair they crave more than anything else.

Competition Details

The publishers of This is a Love Story have kindly offered one copy of this book to winners of a valentines day competition for my blog readers.

For your chance to win a copy of This is a Love Story by Jessica Thompson, follow the steps in Rafflecopter.

UK ONLY entries please :)