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).

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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.

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Books Releases to Get Excited About in July

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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!

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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?

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Book Review & Blogoversary Giveaway: Summer Flings and Dancing Dreams, by Sue Watson

Dance like nobody’s watching. Love like you’ll never get hurt…

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Laura Watkin’s heart isn’t broken, she’s just forgotten how to use it.

After years on her own, the highlight of single mum Laura’s week is watching Strictly Come Dancing with a glass of Pinot Grigio and a large helping of imagination.

With her daughter Sophie going travelling, Laura knows the time is right to do something for herself for a change. One disastrous Zumba class later and Laura ends up at the feet (literally) of gorgeous dance instructor Tony Hernandez.

A natural dancer and inspiring teacher, Tony rekindles in Laura a passion she inherited from her ballroom dancer father – and with it comes a dream… to make him proud.

But when Tony enters them to perform at the National Dance Festival, can Laura’s new-found confidence survive the test? And with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to learn Flamenco in Spain, could Laura truly learn to dance like nobody’s watching… and love like she’ll never get hurt?

A laugh-out-loud, uplifting comedy about finding the courage to be yourself, the importance of dreams, and learning to grab life by the glitter balls.

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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.

 

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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!

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

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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!

 

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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?

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My Yearly Round-Up: 2014

In July 2014, I decided two things. 1) I was actually going to start writing a book like I’ve been saying for years, and 2) I was going to start a book blog, to keep me inspired. So I set up this blog, created a twitter account, and joined Goodreads. I think I can safely say that these are 2 of the best choices I have ever made.

Excited as I was, I could never have imagined just how amazing an experience this would be, and how many wonderful people I would ‘meet’. I’m so thankful to all of you for your wonderful support and friendship.

And, most excitingly of all, on November 30th 2014, I completed the first draft of my first book. Words cannot describe the feelings of accomplishment and pride (and relief!) that came with writing those two little words: The End.

So, here is my yearly round up for 2014, or at least the latter half of it.

Books read: 72
Pages read: 19,531
Blog Posts: 131

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Most Emotional Read: Pieces of You, Ella Harper
My Review

This book had me in tears within the first few pages – it is both beautiful and tragic.

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Funniest Read: Love, Lies & Lemon Cake, Sue Watson
My Review

This was my first Sue Watson read, and I quickly fell in love with her laugh-out-loud writing.

Christmas at the Gingerbread Cafe Chocolate Dreams at the Gingerbread Cafe

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Favourite Series: The Gingerbread Cafe books, Rebecca Raisin
My Reviews

The Gingerbread Cafe books are simply delightful, with some of the loveliest and warmest characters I’ve read about.

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My Favourite Book of 2014: Love Me For Me, Jenny Hale
My Review

Probably the most perfect book I’ve ever read. Genuine, sincere and simply wonderful.

So, all in all, a pretty amazing year! Thanks again for all your kindness and support so far, and here’s to a wonderful and prosperous 2015.

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Book Review: Snow Angels, Secrets and Christmas Cake, by Sue Watson

A fabulous Christmas read from the author of Love, Lies & Lemon Cake…

Snow Angels, Secrets and Christmas Cake

For Tamsin Angel, Christmas is always the biggest and best… chic parties and a little showbiz sparkle are a must. This year though, things aren’t going quite as planned…

With bailiffs suddenly at the door and her husband nowhere to be found, it looks like Christmas just got downsized. Moving into her sister’s one-bedroom flat, she wonders whether things will ever be the same again.

After losing her husband on Christmas Eve, Sam Angel has rebuilt her life around her son Jacob and her new business – The White Angel Bakery. She’s also found herself a very handsome, loving boyfriend, but is struggling to let go of the past.

Thrown together with a sprinkle of Christmas magic, Sam and Tamsin might just learn a little more about each other – and themselves. But when disaster strikes at the bakery, will they be able to save the day in time for Christmas?

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Behind the Book: An Interview with Sue Watson

I am absolutely over the moon to be welcoming the fabulous Sue Watson to The Book Nook today!

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Love, Lies and Lemon cake was released on June 27th this year. For anyone who hasn’t read my review yet, – which you really should, it’s here! – I LOVED this book. It’s the most a book has made me truly laugh in a long time, as well as being a truly heart-warming story, (plus a very swoony hero, but we’ll get back to him later!)

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Book Review: Love, Lies and Lemon Cake, by Sue Watson

A laugh-out-loud, bittersweet comedy about taking your life back before it’s too late.

Love Lies and Lemon Cake Sue Watson

A big thank you to the lovely Bookouture for providing me with a review copy via NetGalley.

“Faye Dobson has lost her sparkle. Living on film star fantasies and vague memories of a marriage that once was, she can’t help feeling that life is passing her by. She dreams of being whisked to Paris for dinner, making three wishes at the Trevi fountain and having sex under the stars. But the wrinkles are multiplying, her husband’s passion is for plumbing, and the nearest she’ll get to Rome is a take-away pizza.

So when Faye meets Dan the gorgeous Australian surfer guy working in the local deli she can’t help but wonder what it would be like to see the world. He is blonde, tanned, ten years younger and bakes the most amazing lemon cake. Unlike her husband Dan actually listens to Faye, his smile makes her feel fizzy inside, and when he smiles… Oh. My. God.

But is Faye being silly? What would Dan see in someone like her? Even if he did have feelings for her, could she give everything up to be with him? ”

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