Sunday, December 31, 2017

January Book of Choice Giveaway Hop

One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a January 2018 release of their choice worth $15. Good luck!

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

Happy New Year - Personal Post & Giveaway

By Suze

For me 2017 wasn't an easy year, but it was a rewarding one nonetheless. I've had a few downs, but I also had several wonderful ups. It's the highlights of my year I'd like to share with you. 


With Love for Books is all about friendship and positivity. I love my regular (book) chats with Anniek, we never run out of subjects to talk about and she always know how to make me laugh. We enjoy every single moment of running the blog together and we both love to share this happy feeling. There's something else we shared this year that made our bond even stronger, Anniek's wedding. I was her maid of honor and this was incredibly special. I was so proud of her and had tears in my eyes from the moment I watched her walk down the isle until she said yes to her now-husband. Her day was like a fairytale and it was brilliant to be part of that dream. Anniek and I have shared many precious moments together and I cherish each and every one of them.

I've also received such beautiful friendship from authors, readers and other online friends. I feel lucky every single day that I have those people in my life. I'm looking forward to our chats and their generosity and kindness cheers me up. With Love for Books has brought me so much joy and I'm grateful for that every time I look at the blog. I'm truly blessed that I have so many good and kind people in my life.

My husband

I fell in love with a boy when I was 14 and never fell out of love with him again. It took two years for him to become my boyfriend and from that moment on we've been inseparable. We celebrated our 21st anniversary in November and it was a magical day. My husband has done a lot for me this year and I love how much he likes With Love for Books. He helps with the packages, he's a fabulous support who's always there in the background and he's fallen in love with reading himself, so he knows what the fuss is all about. I'm glad I have him by my side.


I was the maid of honor at another wedding this year, my brother's. He always said he wouldn't get married, but when he met the right woman he changed his mind pretty quickly. Everyone who reads With Love for Books knows how much I like a good romantic story and I'm happy for my brother that he has a real life one. It was such a joy to be part of this. The day was all about true love and it could easily be felt by anyone who was there. The wedding was an emotional, merry and personal event that warmed the heart of every single guest and it was fabulous that I was allowed to play such a big role. This is a memory I will cherish forever.

Dressing up

I love pretty dresses and because of the weddings I went to I had the chance to wear two beautiful dresses. It took quite a few trips to the dress shop to get my outfits sorted, but I wouldn't have wanted to miss it. I felt like a princess on both days and I wasn't even the bride. Every time I see the dresses I remember the beautiful events I wore them to and this keeps putting a ray of sunshine in my heart.


Because I was out of the running for a while this summer I didn't read as much as I usually do this year. However, I somehow still managed to reach my Goodreads goal of 500 books. I loved every book on my list and had so much fun reading such a diverse selection of stories. I'm grateful to all the authors who have put their hearts and souls into their work. It brings people so much understanding, happiness, entertainment and support, which is a priceless gift.

Happy Mail Project

I managed to send happy mail to quite a few people this year. Whenever I have the funds and energy I try to put a smile on someone's face with some cheerful mail. I love my project and I'm hoping to honor many more requests in the next year. For this year it's been a lot of fun and I loved reading the sweet messages I received from people after they received my mail. Those are truly priceless and they are making me a sender as well as a recipient of happy mail.


Last, but not least, strength is another thing I'm grateful for when it comes to 2017. I've discovered how strong I really am and in the moments when I wasn't able to get through something on my own I had a strong support system to get me through any kind of difficult situation. The fantastic messages I received from our readers, the authors we've featured and my friends and family made a huge difference in my life. I'm happy you are all there for me and look forward to sharing more heartwarming moments with you in the next year.


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a package with bookish surprise happy mail from me.

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Book Review - Wrapped in Hope by K.B. Andrews

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads

Review by Anniek

Hope and Dean have been friends ever since they were little kids. This friendship turned into sweet teenage love. After their graduation Hope and Dean spend a weekend alone in a cabin in the woods, totally cut off from the outside world. They love every minute with each other. On the last day Dean asks Hope to marry him and she can't wait to be with him forever. On the way home a terrible accident ends their dream, leaving Hope shattered and alone. Will Hope ever be able to fully enjoy life again?

Hope is a student and has just been existing for the last 5 years. She doesn't participate in anything social, doesn't go to parties and is basically a loner. Her roommate has a troubled past as well, so she understands Hope completely and puts no pressure on Hope to get over her broken heart. Hope goes to group therapy sessions, but has never shared her story. During one of those sessions Holden walks in. Holden, Dean's stepfather, is still coping with the loss of his son. Seeing Holden stirs up feelings inside Hope that she thought she lost forever. Can Holden help Hope to get over the past?

Wrapped in Hope is a story about loss, grief and forbidden love. The story contains a few elements that are tough to read about. K.B. Andrews writes about something difficult and I admired the way she does this. She writes about a beautiful, but controversial love with such a lot of respect and dignity that I couldn't stop myself from rooting for Hope and Holden. Both of them have been through so much pain and their unconditional love is heartwarming. They help each other to overcome the greatest loss they've ever known and they each come out stronger, which is something that moved and impressed me. I absolutely loved this complex thought-provoking story.


Wrapped in Hope is a beautiful moving story with interesting main characters. The story does address some very difficult topics. Please take this in consideration before you start Wrapped in Hope.

Free book

K.B. Andrews's first book in The Chance Series, A Chance at Forever is free on Amazon.

Books by Louise Rennison, Tea, Chocolate, Candy & Mug Giveaway

Enter this giveaway for a chance to win books by Louise Rennison, three chocolate bars & Hema, tea, candy and a Make Your Own Magic mug.

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

Talented Artist - Noverantale - Interview & Giveaway

About Noverantale

She's a YA writer, reader and fan artist. Her interests are Reading, writing, drawing, photography, stargazing & drinking tea!


Website // Twitter // Tumblr // Instagram // Goodreads // Pinterest


1. Could you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

Hello! I’m an artist that goes by the name Noverantale (a username inspired by the country (Novera) I made up in which a lot of the stories I write take place!). I’ve worked with a wide variety of art including freelance jobs creating graphics and posters for video games, logos for websites, companies and video games, and character portraits for a role-playing game. As of recently I’ve been focusing on fan art for some of my favorite books, but I also love to write as well.

Rebel of the Sands

2. You create the most amazing bookmarks, stickers and prints. Where do you get your inspiration?

I get my inspiration just from reading wonderful books! Oftentimes when I discover a book I love, at some point along the way I decide I will definitely be drawing fan art. But I also think of books I love from the past and will draw art inspired by those characters as well! Another thing that inspires me is when I find there isn’t much fan art for a specific book or series out there yet—it makes me want to do my best to draw something great to help other fans who would like to see a visual representation of a character (or characters) they love! And of course, I like to share my drawings with authors to show my appreciation for their writing!

3. How does your creative process work?

While I’m reading a book, I’ll usually read a scene that resonates with me and visualize it in my head, imagining how the character looked during this particular scene. Or, I’ll simply think of a pose or expression a character might have. Then I’ll do a rough sketch to get the basics of my drawing down, followed by a more detailed sketch, then line art, then finally color. Depending on how detailed and difficult a drawing is it can take anywhere from a couple days to a couple weeks. (The longest drawing I worked on was a poster for a video game which took a couple weeks to complete!)

Morozova's Stag

4. You have an impressive bookshelf. Could you name a few of your 2017 favorites?

My absolute favorite book from this year has to be Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett, which undoubtedly inspired me to draw a handful of fan art for! To anyone who hasn’t read it yet, I absolutely cannot recommend it enough. I also really enjoyed The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo (from the Grishaverse, a series I also love drawing fan art for!), Caraval by Stephanie Garber, Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab and Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore. That said, so many incredible books were released this year and I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings.

5. What does a typical day look like for you?

A typical day for me normally begins with a bit of reading. I think early morning is such a special time for reading because of the calm atmosphere when the rest of the world is either still asleep or just waking up. My absolute favorite kind of morning is a foggy, rainy morning spent sitting beside the window reading a book and enjoying a cup of tea. Afterwards my day is divided into either writing or drawing, or whichever I’m more focused on at that time. If I’m working on paid art, I may work a bit into the evening, otherwise I spend most evenings with my husband playing video games or just relaxing. We also love to go on walks, visit cafes, tearooms and bookstores.

The Darkling

6. One of your interests is stargazing. What attracts you to the stars?

I’ve loved the stars for as long as I could remember, but my real passion for the night sky developed only a few years ago. I was going through a rough time and found peace through stargazing, looking at stargazing apps on my phone or using programs like Stellarium on my computer. Oftentimes I feel that looking at the stars really helps to ground me—it reminds me that the universe is so uncomprehensibly vast, and that whatever I may be dealing with or worried about at the moment is not as horrible or everlasting as it may seem. It reminds me that there is so much more out there and most importantly, that I’m not alone.

7. How did your writing journey start?

Truly I’ve wanted to write a book since I was a child! Growing up I’d done a bit of writing, but most of the time I’d done drawing. While writing and drawing are both forms of art they are received differently—it’s easier at times for people to take a look at a drawing rather than sit and read your writing for an amount of time. Because of that, I had focused more on drawing, wishing to share my art with people who enjoyed it and being able to finish entire “works” faster than writing an entire book. However, recently I’ve really wished to put drawing second to writing because in all honesty, my dream is to write a book! Not even neccessarily to attempt to sell it or even self-publish, but at least to achieve that goal for myself. Besides, writing is what I enjoy doing most! I would also like to tell other writers out there that if they want to write, they should do so no matter what may come of their stories. I understand the desire of wishing to see your own novel in a hardback cover at Barnes & Noble, but just writing to achieve it for yourself is such an incredible success on its own.


8. What are your plans for the future?

My plans for the future are to continue doing my best to become a better artist, and of course to write a book (If not several!). Something I really want to focus on in the new year is to set my goals for myself, not for other people and what I think they want from me. At times I feel like we lose sight of our goals because of society’s expectations of us, but when it comes down to it, what we achieve in life is most important to ourselves and we will only be fulfilled by succeeding with our own dreams!


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a set of all the stickers Noverantale created inspired by Even the Darkest Stars, The Grisha Trilogy & Falling Kingdoms.

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

Me, Myself & Eye: A Memoir by Dan Jeffries - Book Review, Interview & Giveaway

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads

Review by Suze

Dan Jeffries has Wyburn-Mason syndrome, which is a rare medical condition. He is a creative man with many ambitions. In Me, Myself & Eye: A Memoir he tells his life story. He shares what it's like to regularly go to hospital appointments and to have regular surgery while also chasig his dreams and going on a quest to find love at the same time. Dan Jeffries grew up in Bristol where he's always tried to find a way to fame. Which directions did his life take?

Me, Myself & Eye: A Memoir is an interesting book. Dan Jeffries is a natural storyteller. I was intrigued from the very beginning and he managed to keep me captivated until the end of his book. I loved how openly he writes about his life. He doesn't leave anything out and tells his entire story, this means he shares the highs and the lows. I love how honest he is. He can laugh about his embarrassing moments and is proud when something goes well, which for me shows that he knows how to live and has a good idea of what's important in life. He's great at expressing his feelings and does this with a fabulous sense of humor. His stories often made me smile, giggle or laugh out loud. While he addresses quite a few serious issues as well, he has a warm and amusing tone of voice that keeps the story light enough and well balanced at all times.

Me, Myself & Eye: A Memoir has plenty of fun extras. Dan Jeffries has added videos, photos, comments, fragments, letters and papers to his book that the reader can easily access by clicking a link. I loved that he makes his book come to life even more through so much interactivity. It's much more fun to listen to music than to just read about it for example, it makes things real. Plus he paints a good clear picture and that enables his readers to fully understand everything he's writing about, which is something that I could definitely appreciate.

Dan Jeffries is an interesting person and I flew through the pages of his book. He allows his readers to come close to him and get to know him through and through, which is a fantastic gift. He combines his complex medical history with humoristic stories about his adventures and endeavors. Dan Jeffries is never boring, he's energetic and has a dynamic way with words that constantly made me feel enthusiastic about what I was reading. Me, Myself & Eye: A Memoir is a terrific book, the biography is filled with creativity, originality and charm. I highly recommend anyone to read about Dan Jeffries. He has a fascinating story to tell and does it really well.


If you love reading well written heartwarming biographies you shouldn't miss Me, Myself & Eye: A Memoir.

About Dan Jeffries

Wyburn-Mason syndrome. Ever heard of it? Dan Jeffries has, and his insightful and hilarious memoir explores what it's like living with one of the world's rarest medical conditions – and then finding out you have another one.

As well as exploring some universal themes of love, creativity and what it means to be a ‘man’, Me, Myself & Eye reflects on the challenges of growing up with such a rare condition, Dan’s frequent visits to Bristol Eye Hospital, his ambition to be an actor (or a professional snooker player) and then the journey of ‘big school’, University and eventually settling in Bristol to find his fame and fortune. And that’s when things really started to change.

Told through an innovative new approach that combines the traditional reading experience with modern technology, Me, Myself & Eye really lets the reader delve into Dan’s life story. Access the integrated footnotes to look at family photos, medical documents, scans and more and visit the web app to view videos and even listen to music Dan’s written over the years.

Me, Myself & Eye is a memoir that is both fascinating and insightful, packed full of drama and humour, and told with a fresh, honest and unique voice.


Website // Twitter // Facebook // Goodreads // Amazon


1) Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

Sure. Hello readers! My name’s Dan Jeffries, I’m from the UK and I was born with Wyburn-Mason syndrome, an incredibly rare vascular condition that left me blind in one eye. It’s incredibly rare; so rare that there has only been around 30 reported cases in the last 50 years — worldwide. And then in 2007 I was diagnosed with Acromegaly — another rare condition caused by a benign tumour in the pituitary gland, and a condition that had life-threatening implications. That’s the basis for my memoir.

2) How did you get the idea to write a book about your life?

I was telling my story over dinner to a group of friends, there was a pause and someone casually said “you should write a book!”. It was like a lightbulb going off. I did ask myself ‘why would anyone want to read my story?’, but I knew I had a story to tell and from that point on I couldn’t be stopped!

3) You’ve openly written about everything you’ve been through, how difficult was it to tell people so much about yourself?

I didn’t find it difficult at all. I’ve shared my experiences quite openly with friends and family (well, not everything), so putting it in a book seemed OK to me. I really wanted to explore some issues that men, on the whole, aren’t too keen to talk about - mostly sex, testosterone and what it means to be a ‘man’.

4) You have quite a few health problems, but you never let them stop you from achieving things, how do you do this and do you have any advice for people who are in a similar situation?

The truth is: I don’t know. I seem to be ‘blessed’ with a generally positive outlook on the hand I’ve been dealt. But, having been to quite a few rare disease conferences of late, it’s great to see that I’m not the only with a positive spin on life. I think the ability to be able to laugh at yourself and look at your own issues in the context of the bigger picture is important too.

5) Music is an important part of your life, can you tell a bit more about what it means to you?

I’ve been involved in music since I was a kid: from playing the piano to singing in choirs to DJing and producing my own tracks. I love the creative process, I love making people dance and writing music is the ultimate creator/finisher activity. I have big plans for 2018 to release even more music!

6) You’re very open about your rare conditions, have you always been able to talk so freely about them and what’s it like to deal with something nobody else has?

I never really spoke about the Wyburn-Mason syndrome until after the publication of the book. As far as I knew, I was the only one with it! But early last year, a lady from the States contacted me to say she had found my book through a Gooogle search and she had Wyburn-Mason syndrome too! It was quite a moment, and she happened to be in the UK for a few weeks so we met up and chatted about it. Since then I have created a Facebook group for those living with Wyburn-Mason syndrome; we have 6 members.

As for the Acromegaly…well, that’s not quite as rare but still pretty uncommon. The internet and particularly Facebook has been an incredibly powerful tool to bring people tougher so they can talk about their diagnosis and treatment, share stories and feel supported. In July 2017 I organised the first UK Acromegaly Meetup and we had over 40 people attend. That’s the power of talking freely.

7) What was the best thing about writing a book?

Ooh - good question. I think the day I had 500 books delivered to my flat is pretty hard to beat! Actually seeing it in print, there, in front of your eyes is a pretty special moment.

And of course, receiving positive feedback has been amazing too. People living with these conditions have left fantastic reviews saying that - not only did the book make them laugh - but it helped them understand the treatment process and more. Coming from those living with the conditions, you can’t ask for better than that.

8) You’ve been creative your whole life and have done many different things already, acting, making music, performing, writing, etc. Are there still areas you’re dreaming of exploring?

Having a girlfriend would be a good one! All of the above keeps me more than busy, so I’ll focus on those for now.

9) You’re book shows you have a great sense of humor and like to laugh, how does this positive attitude influence your life?

Laughter, as they say, is the best medicine. I don’t believe in taking life too seriously and take great pleasure in ridiculing myself (and others).

10) You write about love a lot, what does love mean to you?

Love is many things. Love is the support of friends when you need them. Love is looking into someone’s eyes and not having to say a word. Love is calling someone just at the right time. And love is all of these things and none of these things too. But when you find it…you know.

11) You’ve added a lot of great extras to your book that people can click on and then watch or listen to, how did you get this idea?

Ah - that was my true lightbulb moment. I actually got the idea for the companion website whilst I was brushing my teeth! I was pacing around the flat, just before bed, cleaning my teeth, and thinking that I had all this great material from my life that I wanted to share: photos, medical records, music, video. I knew that putting pictures into a book would send the print cost sky high and I suddenly thought: make an app! Use footnotes at the bottom of the page to indicate when to check the app/website. For those reading eBooks, all the picture are automatically included, with a link to the video and music when needed.

It’s been really interesting talking to people about how they read the book too. Some love to stop and check the website, others like to wait till the end of the chapter. Some don’t engage with it at all. And all of that is fine. I’m just proud I had the idea and I hope it encourages others to do something similar (or better!) too.

12) You’ve told people about yourself, but time continues after the book will you keep them updated in a new book?

Ahh, the elusive second book. I’ve thought about this. I may - in 20 years time - write a follow up, when I can explore ideas that are easier to discuss after the passing of time, when I can update on my life progress and fill in some of the gaps. I may do it, I may not. Writing the book was a huge undertaking and whilst I loved every minute of it, it’s a massive project. I’ll have to wait and see if there’s a desire for it! In the meantime, people can always follow me on Facebook or Twitter and keep up to date with the latest developments.

13) What are your plans for the future?

This year I launched the Audio Book version, which I’m really excited about. I’ve also been talking lots at conferences and events about living with two rare diseases (and about the creative process of the book too), and that’s taken me all over the world: Canada, Belgrade and hopefully next year the States. I’m also looking to develop my presentation into a one-man show and take it to the Edinburgh Festival!

As you can see — I do love a project.


Three very lucky readers of With Love for Books will receive an audio book, kindle or iBook copy of Me, Myself & Eye (winner's choice).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Book Review - Where There's a Will by Bella Osborne

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads

Review by Suze

Daisy is a wanderer. She doesn't like staying in one place and traveling is what she does best. When she's back in Ottercombe Bay for her great uncle's funeral all she wants to do is leave again. However, Great Uncle Reg planned something for her before he died and it involves staying in one place. For Daisy Ottercombe Bay holds many memories. It's the place where she spent her early childhood and it's where her mother died when Daisy was still a little girl. Great Uncle Reg has left her something substantial in his will, but if Daisy wants to receive her inheritance she has to make Ottercombe Bay her home for one year. Living with the constant reminders of her mother's death is going to be tough and Daisy doesn't know if she can make herself stay. Will she be able to fulfill Great Uncle Reg's last request?

Where There's a Will is a fantastic story. I was immediately impressed by Daisy. She's wonderfully stubborn, strong willed, moody, obstinate and fierce. She's been through a lot and it's made her guarded, but she has a good heart as well. Her reactions often made me chuckle. Daisy isn't very flexible, she cares about people, but doesn't want to show them and she doesn't know how to handle her feelings. This makes incredibly interesting reading that I enjoyed straight away. Bella Osborne's main character is original and fun and I can't wait to find out more about her.

Ottercombe Bay is a lovely small town. I liked reading about the inhabitants and could easily picture the charm of the place. I love how Bella Osborne makes her settings come to life. She writes about them with such warmth and love. Where There's a Will is a great start of the Ottercombe Bay series. It made me curious and eager to read more and I was entertained as well as captivated by this first part of the story. Bella Osborne is a skilled writer and she's written another amazing story that put a big smile on my face.


If you love headstrong main characters and like stories set in small towns Where There's a Will would be a perfect choice. Keep in mind that this is the first part of a series and that the story has an open ending. 

Personal Post - Birthday Celebrations by Anniek

Birthday Celebrations
By Anniek

I was born on this day, 37 years ago. It's always a bit weird having your birthday between the festivities of the holidays, but after all of the years I've already celebrated my birthday this way I'm used to it. My family and friends always make me feel loved on my special day. I feel so much warmth when I open my presents and see with how much care they were chosen for me.

On my birthday I also look ahead to the upcoming year. Just like most people I have New Year's resolutions and this year I have the same one as many times before. I also added a few new ones and I keep dreaming up others every single day. Some of my goals for 2018 are: writing the stories down which are floating around in my head, staying organized, losing the weight I gained through my pregnancies, making an effort to be kind to people I don't know and to keep finding the positives things in life.

Suze and I never had any doubt in our minds that we wanted to keep With Love for Books a positive only blog. I love to work from positive thoughts. Every author puts in a lot of time, effort and passion into writing their book and even though it may happen that a story is not for us it doesn't mean it's a bad story. We keep these things in mind with everything we do. Being a positive person in general makes your everyday life so much easier. When I give people a smile or say a friendly word it always shows how much it affects the other. I love it when that happens. Suze has set up an amazing Happy Mail Project and I know that her kindness and big heart bring many smiles around the world. One of my goals is to follow in her footsteps and help her more often to bring a smile to someone I don't know.

When I think about the New Year I get butterflies in my stomach. I believe that 2018 will be the best year ever. A year where dreams will become reality and where I'll be going on journeys to beautiful places and magical worlds created by all of you amazing authors. A year with lots of love, happiness and newfound friends. I hope that your year will be amazing and that you all achieve everything you've set your mind to.


On my special day I'd like to share the love for books, so one very lucky reader of With Love for Books will win a book of choice worth $15.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

Drink Coffee and Read Books Mugs + Fuelled By Coffee, Books & Magic Pouch Giveaway

Enter this giveaway for a chance to win two personalized Drink Coffee and Read Books mugs and a Fuelled by Coffee, Books & Magic pouch made by Miss Bohemia. Good luck!

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Rearranged Life by Annika Sharma - Book Review, Interview & Giveaway

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads

Review by Suze

For Nithya family is incredibly important. She always does what's being expected of her, as that's how she's been raised. Nithya is a model student and wants to have a career in medicine. She's also accepted she'll have an arranged marriage, but she's not ready to start meeting potential candidates yet. Nithya also wants to have some college experience and when she's at a party something goes horribly wrong. Fortunately the kind and handsome James is there to help her out. It's the beginning of a strong friendship.

Nithya likes spending time with James and he's easy to get along with. They have a lot in common and they fall in love with each other head over heels. This puts Nithya in a difficult position, will she choose to follow the dreams her family has for her and give up her own or will she listen to her heart and be with James? Will she ever have the chance to be happy or will her heart be broken no matter which path she chooses? What will Nithya decide and will she be able to handle the consequences of this decision?

The Rearranged Life is a beautiful story about true love. Nithya is a fantastic person. She's super smart, she's a loving daughter, she's responsible and she's kind. I loved how she always thinks things through and never makes rash decisions. She doesn't only think about herself, she also thinks about how her behavior affects others and I loved that. She and James have a great bond. It was fun to see how well they get along and I enjoyed reading about their families and their values. They have plenty of sparks, there's a deep intellectual connection and I was endeared by how sweet they are together, which are all very important aspects of a good relationship. I really liked how well thought through Annika Sharma writes about this special couple.

I love reading about different cultures and The Rearranged Life immediately captivated me. I admired how informative Annika Sharma's writing is, while her story remains entertaining and easy to read I've learned a lot from The Rearranged Life as well. She writes about Nithya's family and their expectations in a fantastic open way that made it possible to understand all of Nithya's feelings about the dilemma she's facing. Annika Sharma skillfully does this through surprising and intriguing twists and turns and many fascinating scenes that kept piquing my interest.

Annika Sharma has a fabulous rhythmic writing style that made me fly through the pages of The Rearranged Life. I was enchanted by the story. I'm a big fan of books about true love and this story put a huge smile on my face. Annika Sharma makes her main characters come to life very well. I love how she writes about their thoughts and emotions. She's written a complete and balanced story. I like smart main characters and that made this book extra wonderful for me. I highly recommend The Rearranged Life, it's a terrific romantic book.


If you love reading romantic stories about smart and strong main characters from different cultural backgrounds The Rearranged Life is an absolute must-read.

About Annika Sharma

Born a Delhi girl and raised in central Pennsylvania, Annika Sharma followed her Penn State-loving heart to college in Happy Valley. There, she graduated with two Bachelor's degrees in Biobehavioral Health and Neuro-Psychology. A career teaching young children soon followed. After two years of working in early education, she paused for a summer before embarking on her graduate school career, and wrote her first novel, The Rearranged Life, during her time off. Shortly after earning her Master's degree in Early Childhood Special Education, she was signed to Donaghy Literary Agency--a move that landed her a book deal for The Rearranged Life with Curiosity Quills press. The novel was released in 2015.

In March of 2017, her three-book series about an Indian-American group of friends, each with their own unique and challenging cultural love stories, was picked up by Sourcebooks. The first of the three books will be published in Fall of 2018.

Annika currently lives in New York City and is pursuing another Master's degree in Public Health from George Washington University, while juggling an internship and her writing career. A Gryffindor and Scorpio, she is a lover of endless conversations, college football, traveling, books, all things related to England, dancing, superhero movies and coffee.


Website // Facebook // Instagram // Twitter


1) Can you tell a bit about yourself?

Of course! My name is Annika, and I'm obviously a writer. I'm also currently finishing up my second Master's degree in Public Health, focusing on maternal, child and reproductive health. In my spare time, I'm a big fan of traveling, reading (obviously!), shopping online (biggest vice EVER!), spending time with loved ones, photography and cooking. My first book (The Rearranged Life) came out a couple years ago, and I'm thrilled to be on the blog featuring it!

2) in The Rearranged Life Nithya is growing up in two different cultures, what inspired you to write a story about this?

Well, like Nithya, I also grew up similarly. Much of the book is similar to my life--I attended the same university Nithya does, I moved to the United States as a baby and grew up here, but I come from a traditional Indian, Telugu-speaking family. Being the daughter of immigrants, there's an interesting balance you have to strike and I imagine it's the same for all first generation children. We straddle a line between the "old culture" and fitting into the one we moved into, and that can sometimes be at odds. I wanted to write a story that really encapsulated what it's like, and how sometimes, you have no idea how to make a choice or make those two cultures work together.

3) Like you Nithya is a dedicated student, how have you used your own experiences for your story and what do you like the most about studying?

I love to learn. Total geek here! I looove history, new facts, and I'm so attracted to people who are smarter than I am. What I like about studying and learning is that the world is SO BIG and there are so many things out there--and the more you learn and study, the more of the world you get to experience right from your chair in your home.

4) You write about the expectations of Nithya’s family when it comes to marriage, how did you get the idea to use this topic for a story and was it difficult to write about?

As I went through college and as I've gone through my twenties, like any girl or guy, my friends and I have fallen in and out of love. Sometimes its been with Indians and other times it has been with people who aren't--and both have benefits and pitfalls! My goodness, the drama that has followed all these relationships...I wanted to explore that. The struggle that first generation children experience is often seen in love affairs because that's when you're deciding who you want to be with and whether they tie into that struggle between cultures. Sometimes it works in favor of one of the backgrounds. Other times, its a battle for the person you love. I think that's universal. It was difficult to write about sometimes because I wanted to be clear and show that Nithya's parents have a point--but I also believe in making your choices and following your heart. I didn't want to be in favor of love marriages or arranged marriages throughout the book, because both sides have points. I wanted to show a realistic perspective and a balanced one, and I think that was tough to do sometimes.

5) You love to travel, can you share a special experience?

There have been so many! Studying abroad in Italy when I was in college was extraordinary because I'm a history buff. Visiting London and the Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studios was so special because I had gotten my deal for The Rearranged Life three weeks prior to it, and one of the first things they say when you enter the studios is, "It all started because of a book." It was incredibly empowering and awe-inspiring...AND I just got back from Scotland yesterday! I went to Edinburgh, and seeing the Christmas festival lights against the background of the old city and against the steep cliffs of Edinburgh Castle along with someone I love was absolutely breathtaking.

6) What’s the best thing about being Indian-American?

Everything! I LOVE the family culture, the food, the colors, the clothing (oh my gosh, the CLOTHES!) and jewelry that India has given me. It's such a beautiful, rich culture and with thousands of years of stories entwined in it...what's there not to love? I find it magical. As for being American, I love that dreams are within reach and that it's been a place where my family has thrived. I love walking around New York City and feeling a million countries in one place and feeling accepted there. In many ways, by being Indian-American, I get double the amazing things! I'm a lucky girl.

7) How did being part of different cultures enrich your life?

I think I get an intense work ethic and level of competition from being Indian. Our parents had to stand out in a population of billions so their goal of working like crazy to get to their dreams is something they imbibed in me. And the belief I can get them, that's an American thing. I think both my cultures have worked hand in hand to give me a great set of tools to succeed and move forward in life.

8) What does true love mean to you?

What an amazing question! I see love as an unwavering home for your soul, where you can be broken into a million pieces or the strongest you can be, all without fear of judgment or being belittled. It's a "free space" for you to grow and change, all with someone to love and support you.

9) What’s the most beautiful thing for you about the connection between Nithya and James?

I think I alway envisioned them as a couple who gives themselves the space to grow and change. That's the beauty of falling in love in college--you change every day and mature, and to have someone there next to you who can allow you to do that while loving you is a beautiful thing. I hope I was able to capture some of the beauty in first loves, college and adoring someone.

10) What are your plans for the future?

I'm graduating with my MPH soon, to supplement my M.Ed. I also have a three book deal with Sourcebooks, set for release in 2018 (date TBA) about a set of Indian friends, each with their own book and love story that explores different cultural conflicts. I'm really excited for that! I changed my website recently into a lifestyle blog, and I update Instagram nearly every day with poetry and lifestyle photographs, so that's also a project I'm really pumped for!


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a digital copy of The Rearranged Life.

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Three Books & Happy Jackson Notebook, Pouches, Lunch Tote & Mug Giveaway

Enter this giveaway for a chance to win three books and a Happy Jackson notebook, Queen of Awesomeness pouch and mug, All You Need Is Lunch bag and Lovely Pencils Fancy Pens pencil case. Good luck!

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James and the Amazing Gift & James and the Birthday Balloon by Nicola J. Rowley - Book Reviews & Giveaway

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Review by Anniek

James is a happy young boy. He loves to smile and he wants to make others around him smile as well. When James is at the centre with his mother he sees an elderly lady sitting at a table. She's alone and looks unhappy. James will go through great lengths to bring happiness to her. Will he succeed in making this elderly lady smile?

James is a very sweet kid. I love how he goes through life with a big smile on his face. A smile can go a long way and James shows that even the smallest gestures can make a big difference. The pictures in this book are easy to recognize. Even when children can't read yet they'll still know what the story is about. The colors are bright and basic, which makes them incredibly attractive for children. James resembles my own son and this made James and the Amazing Gift even more special for me. They are both such sweet souls and that makes my reading experience of this book extra precious.

I love to read stories with my son and we've read James and the Amazing Gift a lot of times already. James has a powerful message to share with the world and I often find myself going back to those children's books that are fun as well as educational. James and the Amazing Gift is a great book to read with your child and for every sold copy £1 of the proceeds will be donated to Contact the Elderly, which tackles loneliness among older people.

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Review by Anniek

James goes to a birthday party, it's his best friend Ruby's special day. James and Ruby both get a beautiful balloon. Unfortunately Ruby lets go of her balloon and she hurts herself when she's chasing after it. Her birthday party ends with her in the hospital. Ruby is scared because she has never been in the hospital before. Can James make his best friend smile again?

James is always happy and when he walks through the hospital he sees a lot of sad faces. Being the kindhearted boy he is, he tries to bring happiness and laughter to everybody who needs it. James is the best friend ever when he comforts Ruby and gives her his balloon. Ruby starts smiling again and experiences that the hospital doesn't have to be a scary place.

James and the Birthday Balloon is a sweet story which teaches children that they don't necessarily have to be afraid when they have to go to the hospital. James is wonderful and I have fallen in love with this sweet young boy, who has the power to make everybody smile. With his kindness he makes the world around him a better place. This is the second book I've read about James and I hope that Nicola J. Rowley will keep adding stories to her great series. Of every sold copy £1 is being donated to the Evelina London Children’s Hospital, which provides care and life-saving treatment for children in South London and beyond.


If you like to read positive and happy stories with your child in the age range of 3 to 7 years old I highly recommend James and the Amazing Gift and James and the Birthday Balloon.

About Nicola J. Rowley

Nicola was born in Basildon in Essex and credits having some great teachers at primary and secondary school who both inspired and helped with her love of the written word.

From the age of seven, when her aunt asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, she answered, a writer or a poet.

Nicola studied Journalism and Sociology at City University in London, so that she could become a Journalist and write. She fell in love with broadcasting and instead became a radio newsreader, TV producer and reporter, before moving into Communications.

In between it all, she also launched her own successful photography business, which she still runs today, specialising in children and families, weddings and commercial imagery.

When her son was born in 2014, within weeks she started reading to him. It was from seeing his enjoyment from turning the pages, learning new words and going on special adventures, that inspired her to write her first book; James and the Amazing Gift.

Nicola lives in Hersham, Surrey with her husband and son.




Two very lucky winners of With Love for Books will receive a signed copy of James and the Amazing Gift and James and the Birthday Balloon. One runner up will get a signed copy of James and the Birthday Balloon.

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It Had To Be You by Keris Stainton - Book Review & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Bea has a recurring dream about a man and she thinks she's meant to end up with this person. She believes in romance and destiny. However, what will she do when she's found the man of her dreams? Is he really everything she's ever wanted or is there something she misses? Bea is working together with Henry, they both love books, they have fun, they get each other and they can talk for hours. Henry isn't the man Bea feels she should be with though, because he isn't the one starring in her dreams. Is she right?

When Bea meets Dan she's relieved she's finally found the man she's always dreamt about and they start dating. Bea assumes she's supposed to end up with Dan because she's sure that is how fate works. Is that really the case though? Dan is kind and handsome, but is he the man for Bea? Will Bea dare to follow her heart, so she will have a chance with the man of her dreams, getting her happily ever after?

It Had to Be You is a fun story about true love. I immediately loved Bea. She's wonderfully quirky and I loved how naive she can be. She's fond of books, which is another big plus. She and Henry have a wonderful special friendship that put a big smile on my face. I loved their jokes and easy banter. Bea is looking for someone else though and when she meets him she thinks she's supposed to have found her soul mate. Dan is a good guy and I was curious to find out what would happen between them. I couldn't turn the pages quickly enough to discover who Bea would choose and if she'd eventually see sense and listen to what her heart keeps telling her.

Keris Stainton's writing has an easy flow. I liked her sense of humor and creativity a lot. It Had to Be You is entertaining, charming and sweet. It's an adorable story filled with funny eccentricities that made my heart melt. I love a great lighthearted and cheerful story and It Had to Be You definitely falls into that category. It's a captivating feelgood book with a fantastic happy ending. I really liked this gorgeous endearing story.


If you love quirky romantic stories about true love you should definitely read It Had to Be You.

About Keris Stainton

My mum always claimed that when she lived in America for a year, my dad wrote to her every day and, in one of his letters, proposed. My dad denied this. But when she got home they got married anyway. In 1966 they emigrated to Canada. They'd wanted to go to New Zealand, but it was full.

I was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, which, by all accounts, is very cold. And also hot. But when I was four months old, my parents moved back to the UK. Don't worry, they brought me too - this isn't a misery memoir. And so I grew up on the Wirral. You probably haven't heard of it.

When I was 18 I moved to London and, a few years later, after meeting and falling in love with (I don't mean "at first sight". At first sight, I didn't like him and he didn't like me either. But that's another story) a fellow northerner we moved back "up north". Now we live in Lancashire (which is lovely, particularly when it's not raining. Which is about two weeks a year) with our two ridiculously gorgeous sons and a pug. Okay, we haven't got a pug, but maybe if I write it here it will come true. If you write it, pugs will come.

I've been writing stories for as long as I can remember (I spent much of my teen years writing fanfic, but it wasn't called fanfic back then), but I didn't write a novel until 2004 when I took part in National Novel Writing Month.

I now write full time and I think it's probably the best job in the world.

Some things about me:

1. I was born in Canada.

2. When I was little I had an imaginary friend named Mr Corbett.

3. At school I was painfully shy.

4. I was in the Bucks Fizz and Bros fan clubs.

5. When my husband and I first met we wrote our life stories for each other. They were both pretty boring.

6. I’ve worn glasses since I was six. My first pair were pink NHS with a plaster over one lens.

7. The day before Charles and Diana’s wedding the wind slammed our lounge door. With my finger in it. Six stitches.

8. Whenever I go on holiday I always fantasise about moving there. One of these days I will.

9. In Redwood National Park I hugged a tree, but it didn’t hug me back.

10. I keep fairy lights up all year round. I once saw Bert & Ernie (from Sesame Street) fairy lights in a shop and didn’t buy them cos they were too expensive. I’ve regretted it ever since.

11. I love the sound a hoover makes when you suck up something you shouldn’t. Usually, in this house, a chunk of stale bread (or twenty).

12. The first single I bought was This Ole House by Shakin’ Stevens. I bought it in Woolies.

13. The first song I can remember knowing all the words to was I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor.

14. I dream about some celebrity or other every single night. Without fail. Seriously.

15. I’ve had sex dreams about Mike Baldwin, Jim from Neighbours and Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. And, thank god, George Clooney.

16. A Harry Styles dream I had in 2014 has led to an ongoing One Direction obsession.

17. Bob Geldof once called me “dogmatic”. At the time, I was kind of horrified. Now I’m kind of impressed. (I mean, of *all* the people to call you dogmatic!)

18. Des O’Connor once called me “cuddly”. I prefer the Bob Geldof story.

19. If I could only eat one food for the rest of my life it would be Pad Thai. Probably.

20. I rarely refuse a cup of tea.


Website // Facebook // Twitter // Goodreads


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a digital copy of It Had To Be You.

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Jane Austen Tote Bag & Mugs Giveaway

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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

These Healing Hills by Ann H. Gabhart - Book Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

It's 1945 and Francine thinks her future is secure. She's planning to marry Seth as soon as he's back from the war. When Seth writes her that he's in love with someone else Francine is devastated. Because Seth will bring his new love to America she decides it's time for a change. She signs up for the Frontier Nursing Service midwife training in the Appalachian Mountains. When she arrives she feels at ease straight away. Francine loves the mountains and she enjoys working with people, but there are many rules and customs she isn't used to. Has she made the right choice leaving everything she knows behind?

Ben's family lives in the mountains. He hasn't seen them for quite some time, being a medic in the army. The horrors of the war have greatly affected him and he's glad to go home. However, when he arrives he doesn't have a clue what to do with himself. What should his future look like now that he has the time and the freedom to make his own decisions? When he meets Francine he immediately feels she's special, but they're from different worlds. Can they be friends and maybe even more or do their backgrounds stand in their way?

These Healing Hills is a fantastic book. I was immediately intrigued by Francine. She's optimistic, strong and capable. She's kind and caring and never loses her faith. I loved how she takes the time to be there for people. She's a wonderful person and that makes this book incredibly beautiful. Moving from a life filled with luxury in the city to a much simpler and more basic one in the mountains isn't always easy and it was fascinating to read about her challenges. Francine makes mistakes and it's in those moments she has her most interesting meetings. I loved her connection with Ben, it's genuine and feels exactly right. I couldn't turn the pages of These Healing Hills quickly enough to find out what would happen to these two amazing people.

Ann H. Gabhart skillfully paints a gorgeous picture of the Appalachian Mountains. I could certainly understand why Francine would love being there so much. I enjoyed reading the vivid descriptions of both the surroundings and the inhabitants that made the whole story come to life very well. I liked how Ann H. Gabhart pays attention to every single detail. She's made sure the story perfectly suits the era she's writing about. It especially was a lot of fun to read about the songs they were singing. She combines lightness with serious topics and balances this exactly right. The result is a charming, entertaining, multilayered, thought-provoking and romantic story. I loved everything about These Healing Hills, it's a brilliant book.


If you love beautiful historical fiction about strong main characters you should definitely read These Healing Hills.

About Ann H. Gabhart

ANN H. GABHART, the bestselling author of over thirty novels, has been called a storyteller. That’s not a bad thing for somebody who grew up dreaming of being a writer. Ann’s historical novels have Kentucky backgrounds like her popular Shaker series and her new release, These Healing Hills set in the Kentucky Appalachian Mountains. She also writes about family life, love and sometimes mystery (as A.H. Gabhart) in small towns like her Kentucky hometown. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren and enjoy life out on the farm. To find out more about Ann’s books and to check out her blog, One Writer’s Journal, visit



Celebrating Christmas with My Characters
by Ann H. Gabhart

I love Christmas. I want everybody to find joy in the day as they focus their thoughts on a long ago starry night in Bethlehem when our Savior was born. As Christians, we do remember the reason for the season but sometimes all the expectations of Christmas traditions can be overwhelming. People often ask if I’m ready for Christmas and I’m happy to say Christmas comes, ready or not. That’s good because I never get completely ready. I miss out on making this batch of cookies or sending all my Christmas cards or well, something I think I should do. We often make ourselves a way too long to do Christmas list when we should be thinking of the greatest gift ever given–Jesus.

So right now, I’m going to forget about those cookies I haven’t baked and the presents not wrapped yet or all those other things I need to do and take a trip back in time to when a few of my characters celebrated Christmas. In my stories, my characters are the ones getting those presents wrapped and baking the cakes and cookies.

That part is a lot easier for me, and Christmas expectations did seem simpler years ago. Back in the 19th century, many families had a much different celebration. Perhaps families decorated a tree. Perhaps they didn’t. They may have gone to church and I have no difficulty imagining my characters reading the Christmas story from the Bible by candlelight. Families surely gathered to celebrate when they lived near one another. Stockings were hung by the fireplaces and filled with fruit and candy we can buy at the grocery store every week now and not just at Christmas. Even in the 1930’s and 40’s Christmas was still a simpler time for many families.

I do go back in time to celebrate Christmas with my characters in several of my books. In Summer of Joy, a story set in the 1960’s, my young heroine, Jocie, is surprised with a new bike, and if you know Jocie from my Heart of Hollyhill books, you know how happy that made her.

Head back a few more years with me to 1945 and my story Love Comes Home. With Christmas only days away, Kate welcomes Jay home from World War II. You can imagine how much fun I had writing a romantic first Christmas for them since they married right before he went overseas in 1942. Here’s a bit of a Christmas scene.

“What is it you want to find under the tree on Christmas morning?” Jay asked. He kept the ring he’d bought in Virginia secret in his pocket, glad he’d gotten something for her then, because now he couldn’t bear to let Kate out of his sight long enough to shop.

“You,” Kate whispered. “Only you.”

“But you’ve already got me.”

“Sometimes Christmas comes early.”

Then in my most recent release, These Healing Hills, it’s still 1945 with my midwife nurse, Fran, looking forward to a peaceful, joyful Appalachian Mountain Christmas.

When she thought about how her mother back in the city would be frantically decorating and planning for Christmas, Fran was glad to be in a cabin sitting by a warm fire with her dog at her feet. She had mailed her mother a pair of mittens Jeralene’s mother knitted and sent Harold a jar of sorghum molasses. Christmas shopping done.

She might go to Wendover on Christmas Day if Becca wasn’t having her baby. Or maybe she’d make cookies and stay right here at the center to hand out treats to anybody who came by. She could even wrap up some to take to Granny Em. That way she could stop in at the Locke house. Just thinking about that made her smile. She’d bought a little cloth sack of thumb-sized handkerchief dolls from one of the mountain women. Mrs. Jessup said they were church babies. Fran couldn’t wait to give those to Sadie.

So I’ve been able to celebrate Christmas with several different families. True, they are made-up families, but in my mind they became real as I wrote their stories. That made it extra fun to write them a blessed and merry Christmas. I wish you all the same as you remember the shepherds hearing angels sing, a baby born in a stable, and Mary pondering the wonder of it all in her heart. (Luke 2:19) May you also know the wonder and joy of Christmas in your hearts.


One very Lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a paperback copy of These Healing Hills and a box of Modjeska candy.

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Monday, December 25, 2017

Personal Post - The Magic of Christmas by Anniek

The Magic of Christmas
By Anniek

Christmas has always been a magical time for me. My birthday is soon after Christmas and I love that all the lights and decorations are still up on my special day. The most important aspects of Christmas for me are being with my loved ones, remembering the people who are no longer with us and making an effort to be nice to other people. I also take the time to think about everything that happened during the year and feel blessed for all the good things in my life.

It fills me with hope and happiness when I notice that other people are making an effort as well. Last Friday I went to the shopping mall to run some errands. More people had the same idea and the parking lot was filled with cars looking for a spot. There was a woman driving ahead of me and she parked her car. Next to her was another small spot and she made an effort to park as neatly as she could to give me the space that I needed to park my car. Both of us had a small vehicle so it fit perfectly. I thanked her and wished her a Merry Christmas. It's these little things that make the world a better place.

2017 has been an exceptional year for me. I got married and we had a beautiful day. My grandmother, who is now 93 years old, was with us on this precious moment and even though she doesn't remember it anymore, because of her illness, I'm so happy that she was there. My son went to school for the first time and my daughter celebrated her first birthday. We have the sweetest dog ever and our kids love her so much.

I'm also blessed to have my best friend in my life every single day. Suze is someone who's able to put a smile on your face just by sending you a short message or a (digital) hug. She has such a big heart and she knows me so well. I love to start every day reading what she's written to me. Suze and I have been friends for so long that she's a part of my family. I won the friendship lottery the day she chose me as her best friend.

With Love for Books is doing so well and I feel blessed for all the amazing people I've met through the blog. Lots of authors I now consider friends and I love to talk to them. Even though we've never met in person their friendship means the world to me. It warms my heart when we see how many loyal followers we have and I can't help but having a huge grin on my face when I spot new names. I love it that people are able to find us and that they stick around. I would like to say a special thank you to every single one of you. You mean more to us than we can ever put into words.

I'm wishing you all a Magical Christmas and I hope that 2018 will be the best year ever!


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will have a perfect start of the upcoming year with a book of choice worth $15.

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.