Monthly Wrap Up: June 2015

If you’ve read my last few wrap-up posts, you may know life’s been a little hectic the last few months. If I’m honest, they’ve been pretty tough, I haven’t been in the happiest of places, and that all culminated in June.

All the Single Ladies

I pondered whether or not to include this in here, but it’s obviously a large part of what happened to me last month. After 2 wonderful years together, my partner and I have separated. It was a heart-breaking decision, and not for lack of love for each other, but because we simply didn’t seem to be on the same path for the future.

And so, I find myself single once more, and living alone, when I had quite smugly thought that I’d had my whole life mapped out for me. There have been ups and downs, good days and bad days, I have been sad, angry, miserable, okay, indifferent, guilty, happy, raging, tired and everything in between, but luckily I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by an incredibly loving and supportive family, and have some amazing friends who are always there for me. I have spent most of the last couple of weeks staying with my Dad and Stepmum, who have been incredible, and I’ve had copious amounts of cuddles with my little brother, and much love (and licks) from our very over-enthusiastic and affectionate chocolate lab; after all, I think there are few pains which cannot be eased by dogs and babies.

And do you know what? For the first time in my life, when everything seems to be falling apart around me, I am actually feeling pretty damn strong. I have had a fairly dark past at times, where something like this may have destroyed me, but while my heart has been broken, I have somehow broken new ground for me. For a start, it’s the first time I have had the strength to admit that, actually, I’m not doing so great, and I need a little help, rather than pretending I’m fine. And I now know that that is totally okay. So I went and stayed with my Dad for a bit. Did it make me feel me feel helpless or weak? Actually, it reminded me of how lucky and loved I am, and allowed me to heal and find strength in a safe environment.

I think I’ve just reached a giant point of FUCK IT. I actually feel more empowered than ever to go after the things I want in life and make them happen. I’m finally working on my book again, after having neglected it for several months. I’m meeting the friends I’ve been saying I must catch up with for months, but have never got round to. Yes, this last week I have had too much wine and not enough food, but mainly because I’ve been out with people who make me feel good and I’ve had fun, rather than isolating myself alone at home and doing this, as I may have done in the past.

So here’s to new beginnings, and to making your own dreams come true!

Here’s a few quotes that have helped me feeling motivated (there has been a LOT of “inspirational quotes” searching on Pinterest when I’ve needed a pick-me-up! By all means, if you are also inclined in the way of super cheesy affirmations, do feel free to check out my Pinterest board).

573aa64ec46cc71d99518463180fdf4a 7b4f00dc8c1de665bd107794ed2d4416 5e3f340f6bf1ae7411bade50f51333c8

June in Books

Nursing a broken heart did mean that I decided to submerge myself in reading again, and managed to get through more than I had in the last few months. Overall, a damn good selection as well, Killing Monica didn’t really do it for me, but I loved everything else I read this month, so that’s great.

 18040689 CGKmpq1UIAA5he2 24480276 Killing Monica always the bridesmaid 25613484 Return to Bluebell Hill 04 20877628 25646142-2

Books Releases to Get Excited About in July

 24548860 25646142-2 cover63057-mediumfairytale beginnings 23433709 cover66002-medium

The Quality of Silence – Jul 2nd

Some Kind of Wonderful – July 2nd

Summer Flings and Dancing Dreams – July 3rd

Fairytale Beginnings – July 10th

Secrets at Maple Syrup Farm – July 17th

The Little Flower Shop by the Sea – July 30th

Books I Plan to Read in July 

Given my shit-ness at getting through the reading goals I’ve set my self lately, I’m just going to put the 3 from above which I’ve not yet read, and I also want to enjoy some of the lovely paperbacks I’ve bought myself recently for #paperbacksummer. We shall see!

cover63057-mediumcover66002-medium23433709

BLOGOVERSARY!

July marks one year since I first started blogging, which is super exciting, so I’ve got lots of amazing giveaways to celebrate with you all!

What are you looking forward to this month?

Signature 14 ja2

Advertisements

Book Review: Summer by the Sea, by Jenny Hale

They say there’s always one summer that changes you.

summer by the sea

For Faith the one summer she can’t forget is when she fell in love as a teenager – only for her sister, Casey, to steal her man. Now, at the request of her beloved ninety-year-old Grandmother, Faith has agreed to a family holiday – at their childhood beach house, where it all began. 

Faith hasn’t seen her sister in years but is finally ready to forgive and forget, enjoy the sunshine and relive happy memories. What she’s not ready for is meeting Jake Buchanan – the owner of the beach house – or the long-forgotten feelings he ignites in her. 

Can Faith overcome the hurt of the past, rekindle the close bond she had with Casey and make this summer THE ONE to remember?

Continue reading

Top 10 Books to Read in Summer 2015

As it is now the start of June, it is officially Summer as far as I’m concerned – even if it’s still raining half the time! And one of the best parts of that is all the gorgeous summer book releases! May kicked off to a great start of summer reads, and there’s so many more fab ones due over the next couple of months that they definitely deserve their own post. So, in no particular order, here’s my Top 10 choices to get excited about this summer.

CGKmpq1UIAA5he2Summer by the Sea, by Jenny Hale
Publication date: June 12th

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Goodreads
My Review

If you’re a follower of my blog you have probably heard me declare my undying love for Jenny Hale multiple times, and I assure you it’s with good reason! Jenny’s books are magical to me and Summer by the Sea is no exception.

 

25610813

Fairytale Beginnings, by Holly Martin
Publication date: July 10th

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Goodreads
My Review

I have absolutely loved Holly Martin’s previous books, and doesn’t this just look like the perfect dreamy and romantic summer read? I plan to take this one to the park with a picnic and a bottle of wine!

 

 

Game of Scones

Game of Scones, by Samantha Tonge
Publication date: April 20th

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Goodreads
My Review

Game of Scones is a perfect beach read for lazy summer days. However – make sure you’ve packed a delicious picnic too as this book will make your stomach rumble reading about all the yummy scones!

 

24870312

Summer at Shell Cottage, by Lucy Diamond
Publication date: June 4th

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Goodreads

To my shame I am still yet to read a Lucy Diamond book, even though I hear nothing but praise and I even have some on my shelves! This summer is the time to change that with the beautiful Summer at Shell Cottage.

 

 

24549194-2

The Sun in her Eyes, by Paige Toon
Publication date: May 20th

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Goodreads

Paige Toon is another author who I unbelievably haven’t read yet *hangs head in shame*. However, her gorgeous new book has made me put my foot down and decide to change this. It’s been ordered and is hopefully finding it’s way to me right now!

 

 

Truly, Madly Greekly CoverTruly Madly Greekly, by Mandy Baggot
Publication date: May 22nd

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Goodreads
My Review

A beautiful Greek island, a GORGEOUS exotic man and a heartfelt story make this the perfect read for sun, sand and sea (and cocktails!). Definitely make sure to take this one to the beach with you this summer.

 

cover63057-medium

Some Kind of Wonderful, by Sarah Morgan
Publication date: July 2nd

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Goodreads
My Review

Some Kind of Wonderful is Book #2 in Sarah’s Puffin Island Trilogy. Having read and LOVED book one, First Time in Forever, I can’t wait to read this sequel. And just look at that gorgeously bright and summery cover!

 

cover66002-medium

The Little Flower Shop by the Sea, by Ali McNamara
Publication date: July 2nd

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Goodreads

I simply adore everything about this. I’ve loved Ali’s past books, I love the title, I love the cover, I love the blurb. Just looking at it I feel summery. I really can’t wait to read this one.

 

 

return to bluebell hillReturn to Bluebell Hill, by Rebecca Pugh
Publication date: June 18th

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Goodreads
My Review

Beautiful fellow book blogger from Becca’s Books has her debut novel coming out very soon and I could not be more excited! I have no doubts this is going to be superb.

 

 

25646142-2Summer Flings and Dancing Dreams
Publication date: July 3rd

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Goodreads
My Review

What I love most about Sue Watson’s books is that they are guaranteed to be laugh-out-loud funny, and I don’t think this one will be any exception! From it’s popping cover with those gorgeous, girly brights and a seriously fun sounding bio, I am super excited about getting my claws on this one.

 

There really are a whole host more wonderful books out too – so much so that I’m already in panic-mode that I won’t be able to read them all. It was definitely tough picking just 10, but what a fab 10 they are, right?

Which book releases are you excited about this Summer? Any of these make the cut on your wishlist?

Signature 14 ja2

Monthly Wrap Up: May 2015

Well, I thought April was pretty busy for me, but May seemed to be just one, big crazy whirlwind. Work is insanely busy, with barely a moment to catch my breath and I’ve found myself getting quite stressed and pent up over it. I love my job, but it can be demanding and I think I need to learn to not let it get to me so much. Then it starts the domino effect where by the time I’ve got home, I’m wound up, knackered, and wanting nothing more than to curl up in a ball under a blanket and sleep.

That said, I still had a lot of fun in May. While the weather was mainly unfortunate, we did have some sunny days, and few things make me happier than sunshine. I managed a few nice runs with the bestie, some reading in the park and a trip to the zoo, so that was all great, as well as a couple of great nights out.

I’ve also booked to go to the UK for the Bank Holiday weekend in August to catch up with my best friends from Devon, which I can’t wait for, and it will be good to have something to look forward to.

Race For Life

On Sunday 31st May, my beautiful friend Rosie and I bravely faced the freezing cold and pissing rain, to run the 10k Race for Life to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

We really wanted to complete it in under an hour, and finished in 57 minutes, so we were really pleased with that. I also had set myself a target to raise £100, and raised over £150, so I’m really happy about that as well.

It was such a dire day to have to run on, but everyone did so well and didn’t let their spirits be dampened when their bodies were, so we were really pleased to be a part of it. 11328827_10152976861978831_1779400524_n11355403_10152976861998831_216457238_n

Girl’s Nights!

11272151_10152976861988831_1389109781_nMy handsome big bro is getting married this weekend! I still can’t quite believe it and I’m so excited to share his big day with him. We had the hen do a couple of weeks a go and we all had such a good laugh (and far too much wine!) and I had some very lovely11418630_10152976862058831_1119409342_n pink, fluffy deely boppers to sport all evening as a bridesmaid.

I also managed a much needed and long overdue girls night out with Rosie before she leaves me to go on her cookery course in the UK for six weeks. (During which we happened to be joined by my mother, crash my brother’s stag do and end up at an after-party at my Uncle’s until 5:30am…as you do!)

May in Books

Unfortunately, May found me with no where near enough spare time on my hands to get into my reading much at all, so I read the fewest books I’ve read in a long time. I can’t believe I only read 5! I did finish another on the morning of the 1st, so I guess that was mainly read in May, but I always go by dates finished, so it’ll have to pass over to June!

23503575 2334655751DClhFcMHL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_22745840 the lost child ann troup

Books Releases to Get Excited About in June

 don't tell the brides to betoo many cooks18040689CGKmpq1UIAA5he225413914Killing Monica

Don’t Tell the Brides-To-Be – June 1st 2015

Too Many Cooks – June 4th 2015

Somewhere Only We Know – June 11th 2015

Summer by the Sea – June 12th 2015

Return to Bluebell Hill – June 18th 2015

Killing Monica – June 23rd 2015

Okay there is some SERIOUS cause for excitement about book releases this summer, and a whole lot more coming out in July, but here are my top picks for June.

Jenny Hale’s new book is out on the 12th – I’m reading it now and it is SENSATIONAL, not that I’d expect any thing less. Pre-order this immediately if you haven’t already!

Also, my girl Rebecca Pugh from Becca’s Books has her debut novel coming out and I could not be more proud of her or more excited! Pre-order this also, you simply must.

Books I Plan to Read in June 

I managed 3 of my planned books for May, and – being the bookaholic I am – probably bought about 20 new books. I treated myself to a lot of paperbacks this month, so hopefully I’ll get a couple of those read in June. Now we’re finally hitting summer, I’m fantasising about lazy days in the park with a book, but how much time I’ll actually find to be able to do this, we shall see! I don’t wanna over shoot my aims here given how little time I’ve had lately, so I’m only planning 3 I definitely want to read, but at the same time I am SO EXCITED about upcoming releases.

875092 CGKmpq1UIAA5he2 25610813

What are you looking forward to this month?

Signature 14 ja2

My Favourite Romances & Valentines Giveaway!

Generally speaking, I can class my two favourite types of romances into two categories: the old classics, and the heart breakers. I absolutely love old-fashioned romances, and Jane Austen has been my firm favourite since I first discovered Pride & Prejudice at a young age. I’ve religiously read her 6 novels countless times, and so blossomed a love of regency romances. I’m also a sucker for punishment when it comes to love stories, and will judge how amazing a book is by how many tears I shed. The more the better, for my twisted love of heartache.

pride and preludice pbPride & Prejudice, by Jane Austen

A timeless classic, and one that I will never grow tired of reading over, and over, and over again. I love everything about this book, and about Austen’s writing. It will always be my go-to in times of comfort and need, and the film adaptations have provided equal solace in many desperate times. (Matthew Macfadyen or Colin Firth, I’m not picky!)

 

 

 

the time travelers wifeThe Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffeneggar

This falls into the second category of rip-my-hear-out-and-crush-it-between-your-pages kind of book. The first time I read it, I actually had to stop and put it down for about 15 minutes until my sobbing subsided, my eyes stopped stinging and I could finally breathe and see again. It is just beautiful, in the most agonising way.

 

 

 

me before you

Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes

Another one that shattered my heart into thousands of tiny pieces, and also one of the most stunning books I’ve ever read. I can’t even think about it without feeling my chest tighten. If you haven’t read this book, you simply must. It’s a game-changer.

 

 

 

if you could see me now

If You Could See Me Now, by Cecelia Ahern

It’s difficult to pick out my favourite Cecelia book, as I absolutely love them, and at least five would probaby be on this list in all honesty. PS I Love You, deserves a mention as the first of hers I read, which has started a long term love, but I just adored If You Could See Me Now. Infused with magic and the wonder of believing, this book just takes you on such a beautiful journey.

 

 

the fault in our starsThe Fault In Our Stars, by John Green

You probably don’t need telling which category this one falls into! John Green is an evil genius, who’s life mission appears to be breaking hearts across the globe. The film was wonderful, but it just can’t really touch on the beauty and pain found between the pages of the book. Warning: you will be reduced to a snivelling, disgusting mess. Curse you, John Green.

 

 

 

love me for me

Love Me For Me, by Jenny Hale

I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned it, but I kinda love this book!! I think you’ve probably heard me say it enough times, so I won’t go on to much, but Love Me For Me is one of the loveliest, pure and simple romance stories I’ve ever read.

 

 

 

 

As a Valentines gift from me to you, I’m giving TWO lovely people the chance to win their choice of my favourite romances, listed above. Happy Valentines Day!

click to enter Vday

Jenny Hale Valentines Interview

The gorgeous Jenny Hale is on the Book Nook today. If you follow my blog you may know I have a slight obsession with Jenny and her books, which are the most beautiful, wonderful, loveliest, just PERFECT romances ever so, yeah, you need to go read them. Now. Or maybe after you read Jenny’s interview, I guess…

    • What’s your dream date?
      I’m really happy anywhere, but my favorite place to go would be a city that I don’t get to visit much, or a pub. Or both! I prefer a quieter atmosphere versus loud bars or dancing. I like to be in a place where I can spend long hours talking to the person I’m with.
    • What’s the worst/most embarrassing date you’ve ever been on?
      I’ve never had one, thank goodness! All good dates here!
    • What’s your favourite Valentine’s gift you’ve ever received?
      I was in college, and the man who is now my husband surprised me by taking me to Charlottesville, Virginia to go to a nice dinner, and then we did a pub crawl–just the two of us–around town, sampling different beers. (I have a particular fondness for beer and he knew that.) When we got back to the hotel where we were staying, I remember he was upset because there were supposed to be roses waiting for me and they hadn’t been delivered. I didn’t care at all because I was just as happy knowing he’d thought to do it than actually receiving the flowers. Maybe somebody else got a gorgeous surprise vase of roses that night. Who knows?
    • What’s your favourite thing about love?
      My favorite thing about love is the excitement of it. Sure, it’s fun in the beginning, but that thrill does last with the right person. Even after fourteen years of marriage, I’m excited when my husband comes home, and I can’t wait to see him.
    • Can you describe what love means to you in three words/one sentence? (Take your pick, I’ll delete as appropriate.)
      Love means being with someone who knows me better than I know myself, and loves what he knows.
    • What is your favourite memory of your wedding day OR what would be a detail of your dream wedding?
      For the reception, all my family and friends were together in an old plantation-style house with candles lit, fresh Christmas greenery on all the railings, and fires in the fireplaces. That ambience, with all my favorite people there, is a good memory.
    • What is your favourite romance novel?
      Oof. There are so many! I prefer romances that have other pieces to the story. I love the fun romances in Jill Mansell’s novels and I also really love anything by Harriet Evans.
    • What is your favourite romantic film?
      Again, any/all. If I had to pick, my favorites are Sweet Home Alabama, Notting Hill, Sleepless in Seattle, and Love Actually. (I’m already feeling anxious having to narrow it down to four, don’t make me pick just one.) 🙂
    • What inspires you to write romantic fiction?
      I think we all can relate to the feelings we get around someone we love, and that journey–for everyone–is a story in itself. I enjoy telling about the journey, and exploring all the emotions that come along with that journey.

I would just like to take this moment to point out that Jenny and I totally have the same favourite films, and this further reiterates my beliefs that we should be BFFs and watch chick flicks together. #JustSaying

If you need any more convincing to read Jenny’s books (you shouldn’t, just trust me) then you can here me gush even more in my reviews for Love Me For Me and A Christmas to Remember.

 cartoon heart cartoon heart cartoon heartcartoon heartcartoon heart

Jenny’s Bio

jenny haleWhen I graduated college, one of my friends said, “Look out for this one; she’s going to be an author one day.” Despite being an avid reader and a natural storyteller, it wasn’t until that very moment that the idea of writing novels occurred to me.

Sometimes our friends can see the things that we can’t.

While I didn’t start straight away, that comment sowed a seed and several years, two children, and hundreds of thousands of words later, I completed a novel that I felt was worthy of publication. The result is Coming Home for Christmas, a heart-warming story about friends, family, and the magic of love at Christmas.

I released my second book, Love Me for Me, this past summer, and my next novel, A Christmas to Remember is out now.

When I’m not writing, I’m a District Teacher of English to Speakers of Other Languages, a mother of two boys, and a wife to a very supportive husband.

Connect with Jenny

Twitter – Facebook – Goodreads – Website

Valentines Weekend Celebrations

Hey lovebugs!

Now, as a book worm obsessed with Romance novels, it probably comes as no surprise that I am a totally hopeless romantic! I love everything about love and romance. And while, yes, I know, Valentines is a totally commercialised blah blah blah blah…you know what? I love it. I don’t care. Ultimately, it’s an excuse to spend a totally lovely, romantic day with someone special. What’s not to love? The truth is, even though we can be romantic and lovely and make an effort every single day for the ones we love, we often don’t. So what’s wrong with having one day a year where you make a special effort and celebrate your love in style?! Even in past years when I’ve been single, I’ve spent amazing Valentines Days with friends, where we’ve always had a great laugh celebrating our friendship.

So in the spirit of things, I have a very special love-themed weekend planned here which I am SUPER excited about as I have a whole bunch of amazing guests on the Book Nook! I’ve added a ‘Valentines Weekend’ tab in the menu up there, so you can go straight to all the latest lovey dovey stuff 🙂

Here’s what I’ve got in store for you:

cartoon heart

Friday 13th February

Holly Martin Valentines Interview

Jennifer Gilby Roberts Guest Post

Jenny Hale Valentines Interview

cartoon heart

Saturday 14th February

Claudia Carroll Valentines Interview

My Favourite Romances Post & Giveaway

Amelia Thorne Guest Post

cartoon heart

Sunday 15th February

Fiona Gibson Valentines Interview

A.L. Michaels ‘My So-Called Love Life’ Blog Tour Review

Rebecca Raisin Valentines Interview

cartoon heart

Pretty darn amazing, huh? Thank you SO MUCH to all my amazing guests for taking part in the Valentines Weekend celebrations here on the Book Nook – you’re all stars!