Sunday, September 17, 2017

Book Review - The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads

Review by Suze

Ami has fond memories of Culion where she's living with her Nanay, her mother. However, Culion isn't just a regular island, it's a leprosy colony and Ami's mother is infected. So far Ami has managed to remain healthy and she's taking care of her mother. There's much love between them, but then all islanders who aren't sick are being forced to leave and Ami will be separated from her beloved Nanay. She finds comfort in beautiful butterflies, but they can't replace the feeling of home. Will she be able to say goodbye to her mother before it's too late?

The Island at the End of Everything is a beautiful story about illness, love, loss and butterflies. I was immediately captivated by Ami's story. She's such a strong and resilient girl and she has a lot of love to give. Reading about how people saw Culion and its inhabitants broke my heart. I had tears in my eyes due to the unfair circumstances the people there were forced to live in and Kiran Millwood Hargrave's emphatic descriptions of both the illness itself and the people who are infected made me fall in love with the book even more.

The Island at the End of Everything is a captivating and poignant story. Being separated from the only family you know is heartbreaking, especially when that person is ill and will most likely die soon. Even though it's a sad topic the story is filled with hope as well. Ami has a future ahead of her, she's smart and capable and she has the butterflies to bring her beauty in her time of despair. I couldn't wait to find out where that would lead and if she'd have a chance to be reunited with her mother, which made it impossible for me to stop reading. Fortunately the quality of the story remains high from beginning to end and everything comes together in a brilliant way. I highly recommend The Island at the End of Everything, it's a fantastic thought-provoking story, an absolute must-read.

Advice

If you love beautiful emotional stories you will definitely like The Island at the End of Everything. The story is both suitable for children and adults.

With Love For Bookouture - Summer at Buttercup Beach by Holly Martin - Book Review & Giveaway

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads

Review by Anniek

It has been two years since Freya left everything behind and started over at Buttercup Beach. She ended up in Rome's shop and he locked her in by accident. When Rome came back Freya had organized his store. He offered her a job and they became best friends. Freya is in love with Rome and lately she's started wondering if he feels the same about her. A miscommunication makes Freya doubt everything she's worked so hard for. Needing some space she pulls back from Rome and reconsiders her life. Freya has some difficult choices to make about Rome. Will the two best friends ever make it out of the friend zone?

Rome was engaged once, but his fiancée died in a tragic accident, which left him heartbroken. He never thought he would find love again. Rome feels so comfortable with Freya and spends every minute of every day with her. He needs her around and would do anything for her. Freya works at his shop and helps him create beautiful objects of glass. During a dinner at Freya's favorite restaurant he offers her the deal of a lifetime. He's flabbergasted when Freya storms out of the restaurant and refuses to talk to him. Rome has no idea what he has done wrong. Will he be able to make things right and get close to Freya again?

Freya and Rome have been best friends for a long time. They know everything about each other and being together feels natural. Both of them have been hurt before by very different circumstances. They've fought to be where they are now and are exploring the possibility of love. I'm a firm believer in fate and this is exactly what has brought Freya and Rome together. They both need healing and I liked it a lot that they were so comfortable with each other. Everybody in Buttercup Beach already knows that they belong together and they're pulling all strings to help them figure it out. I laughed out loud several times about the hilarious situations that the residents put them in because of this. 

Holly Martin always pulls me in immediately with her easy flowing writing style. I love to read small island romance novels and Summer at Buttercup Beach didn't disappoint. Freya and Rome are both so creative and the vivid descriptions of their beautiful glass work creations made me wish that Rome's store was real. I really liked this sweet romantic story with its kindhearted main characters. Freya and Rome deserve to be happy and the fact that destiny has brought those two together made Summer at Buttercup Beach a perfect romantic story.

Advice

If you're looking for a wonderful romantic read Summer at Buttercup Beach would be a perfect choice.

About Holly Martin


I live in sunny Bedfordshire in a house with round windows. I studied media at university which led to a very glitzy career as a hotel receptionist followed by an even more glamorous two years working in a bank. The moment that one of my colleagues received the much coveted carriage clock for fifteen years’ service was the moment when I knew I had to escape. I quit my job and returned to university to train to be a teacher. Three years later, I emerged wide eyed and terrified that I now had responsibility for the development of thirty young minds. I taught for four years and then escaped the classroom to teach history workshops, dressing up as a Viking one day and an Egyptian High Priestess the next. But the long journeys around the UK and many hours sat on the M25 gave me a lot of time to plan out my stories and I now write full time, doing what I love.

I have been writing for 6 years. I was shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romance 2012. My short story won the Sunlounger competition and was published in the Sunlounger anthology in 2013. I won the Carina Valentine’s competition at the Festival of Romance 2013 with my novel The Guestbook. I was shortlisted for Best Romantic Read, Best eBook and Innovation in Romantic Fiction at the Festival of Romance 2014.

Author links

Website: https://hollymartinwriter.wordpress.com
Blog: https://hollymartinwriter.wordpress.com/blog
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hollymartinauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/hollymauthor
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/7336832.Holly_Martin

Giveaway


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a digital copy of Summer at Buttercup Beach and a gorgeous dolphin necklace. One runner up will receive a book cover necklace.


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

Jilly Jilly Book Lover & Tea Party Mugs and Notebooks Giveaway


Enter this giveaway for a chance to win Jilly Jilly Book Lover and Tea Party notebooks and mugs. Good luck!


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

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Guest Post - My Inspiration for Tipping Point by Terry Tyler

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads

My Inspiration for Tipping Point
Guest Post by Terry Tyler

Many thanks to Anniek and Suze for inviting me onto With Love For Books to talk about the inspiration behind Tipping Point, the first book of my new post-apocalyptic series.

My fascination with all things post-apocalyptic has been lurking in the wings for some time. I've been a fan of disaster movies since I went to see The Towering Inferno with my sister in 1975. I love to watch and read tales of polar expeditions gone wrong, too, and anything to do with general survival—and what could be more of a challenge than the end of civilisation as we know it, following the release of a deadly virus?

I'm also interested in how post-apocalyptic communities would function, and how the new world would bring out different sides of people. Some characters in my series, like freedom loving Heath and teenager Lottie, thrive when society goes to hell, as I like to think I would, too, once I'd accepted the lack of internet! What I find so compelling is the sudden and complete change in our whole way of life; money as we understand it is a thing of the past, possessions don't matter unless they are of practical use, and a rich City banker is no more likely to survive than a builder's labourer, possibly less so. In my fictional world, new values become important. Practical skills come to the fore, working together as a community—and having a nose for danger.

The plot for Tipping Point begins with the misuse of information unwittingly provided by the public on social media. We've all noticed how all we have to do is mention, for instance, dieting, on Facebook or Twitter, and suddenly we'll get pop-up adverts suggesting weight loss products, or get followed by profiles for them on Twitter. I began to wonder what would happen if all this information was used for something more sinister...

So that's Tipping Point—one reviewer described it as 'zombie apocalypse without the zombies'! I am a Walking Dead fanatic (I write for one of the fan sites), and would have loved to do a zombie book, but I was wary of being too influenced by TWD, and I've read some excellent zombie series that I didn't want to even try to compete with. Apart from the survival aspect, I've thought about how society might reform afterwards, which begins to happen in Book 2, Lindisfarne, and will develop more in Book 3.

Lindisfarne will be out in September, to be followed by a collection of short stories entitled Patient Zero, featuring minor characters from the series. If Tipping Point interests you I hope you enjoy it, and another big 'mwah' to Anniek and Suze!

About Terry Tyler



Terry Tyler is the author of 14 books on Amazon : eleven full length novels, two novellas and a short story collection. She has a book review blog, is a member of Rosie Amber’s book blog reviewing team, and is obsessed with The Walking Dead; she writes for the fansite @TWDfansite. She lives in the north east of England with her husband, but has fantasies about living at Winterfell (it’s a Game of Thrones thing).

Links

Twitter | Goodreads | Website | Blog | Amazon UK | Amazon USA

Alice Book Sleeve & Book of Choice Giveaway


Enter this giveaway for a chance to win an Alice book sleeve made by Story Hero and a book of choice worth $14. Good luck!


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

Book Review - Prisoner of Ice and Snow by Ruth Lauren

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads

Review by Suze

Valor's sister Sasha is in prison because she's stolen an important artefact. The theft has a huge political impact, but Valor doesn't care about any of it. The only thing Valor wants is to find her sister and break her out of prison. Therefore she has to commit a crime herself, how else can they be reunited? Being cold, hungry and tortured will be worth finding Sasha and Valor is prepared to do whatever it takes to get her sister out of the terrible situation she's in. How will she flee from a place where nobody's able to escape from? Will Valor and Sasha ever see their parents again or will they have to spend the rest of their lives in an ice cold prison?

Prisoner of Ice and Snow is a beautiful gripping story. Valor and Sasha are close and Valor loves her sister enough to risk a life sentence. She's an admirable character. She's smart, fierce and incredibly loyal. I immediately liked her spirit and her determination. She doesn't give up, she keeps making plans and she's protective of the people she cares about. Valor makes friends and enemies in the prison camp and it was interesting to find out who she could and couldn't trust. Ruth Lauren describes the relationships between her main characters in a great dynamic way that immediately captivated me.

Prisoner of Ice and Snow has a fantastic unique setting, a cold prison. I loved Ruth Lauren's descriptions of the desolate place itself and of the work the prisoners have to do. There are strict rules, scary wardens and heavy punishments, but there's also friendship, unexpected help and kindness. The coldness of the prison is being balanced with the warmth of love for family and allies, which is something I really liked about Prisoner of Ice and Snow. It's a wonderful fast-paced story filled with plenty of unexpected twists and turns, intriguing conspiracies and complex family connections. I absolutely loved this amazing book and highly recommend it.

Advice

If you love fantasy Prisoner of Ice and Snow would be an excellent choice. The story is meant for children (MG), but can definitely be enjoyed by adults as well.

About Ruth Lauren


Ruth Lauren lives in the West Midlands in England with her family and a lot of cats. She likes chocolate, walking in the woods, cheese, orchids, going to the movies, and reading as many books as she can. She’s been a teacher and worked in lots of different offices, but she likes writing best. Prisoner of Ice and Snow is her debut novel.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

With Love for Romantic Books - The Milliner's Secret / The Girl Who Dreamed of Paris by Natalie Meg Evans - Book Review, Interview & Giveaway

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads

Review by Suze

Cora wants to make something of herself, so when she has the chance to go to Paris she grabs it with both hands. She renames herself Coralie de Lirac and makes sure she is well connected. She's a skilled milliner and her beautiful hats are soon being in high demand. However, there's a price to pay for the life she now leads. Making sure her secrets will remain hidden and being part of a crowd that lives dangerously are taking its toll.

When the Second World War breaks out everyone in Paris has to make sacrifices. It is no longer a safe place to live and work, but it's Coralie's home. She can't sit still and idly watch, Coralie is a woman of action. This might get her into trouble, but it also enables her to offer her loved ones some much needed protection. Will Coralie and the people around her survive the war and what sacrifices does she have to make in the name of love?

The Girl Who Dreamed of Paris is a fantastic story about an interesting woman. Coralie is bold, fierce and determined and she always manages to get herself out of nasty situations. I greatly admired her courage, her pizzazz and her brazenness. She follows her instincts, she's courageous and she is willing to do anything for the people she loves. She can stand up for herself and she's both street smart and intelligent. This makes her story incredibly intriguing. Coralie is a brilliant heroine and I loved every word of her story.

Natalie Meg Evans writes about a difficult period in history in an impressive way. She describes the tension in Europe and especially in the city of Paris, the gruesome mistreatment of people and the fear and famine most of the population have to live with in a stunning honest way. Meanwhile her story also remains romantic because of Coralie's actions and the glamorous life she leads. The finale is unexpected, heartbreaking and absolutely amazing and it moved me to tears. I was captivated from beginning to end by Coralie and absolutely loved The Girl Who Dreamed of Paris. It's an absolute must-read.

Advice

If you love reading historical fiction and like fantastic heroines you will definitely like The Girl Who Dreamed of Paris.

About Natalie Meg Evans


Natalie Meg Evans has been an art student, actor, PR copywriter, book-keeper and bar tender. She is author of three published novels which take as their starting point the turmoil of the late 1930s and World War Two, and focus on the personal struggles of individuals caught up in these times.

Always an avid reader of history – for her sixth birthday she got a toy Arthurian castle with plastic knights – Natalie views historical fiction as the perfect theatre for the imagination. All her novels meld reality with human passions, and delve behind the scenes of a prestige industry: high fashion, millinery, wine making. Rich arenas for love and conflict!
Brought up in the UK, and presently living in rural Suffolk where she writes full time, Natalie was born in Zimbabwe, then Southern Rhodesia, to a mechanic father and a teacher mother. Her mother’s love of all things French made a deep impression, as did a spell in Paris when she was fourteen. Her first two books are set in that city and A Gown of Thorns is set in Southwest France. For The Wardrobe Mistress (out 2017), a story of love and betrayal in post-war theatre, she returns to London where she lived during the 1980s.

Natalie has a son, a music producer, and two elderly Labradors. She lives in a small, sociable village where, occasionally, time seems to stand still. Time off is spent walking the lanes, watching the wildlife and changing seasons, singing in local churches and cooking. She is currently re-learning the guitar.
Natalie Meg Evans is a USA Today bestseller and Romance Writers of America RITA® nominee. She has won the Festival of Romance’s Historical Novel Award, the Harry Bowling Prize, placed third for the RWA’s Golden Pen award, and has been nominated for the coveted Daphne du Maurier award. The Dress Thief won the LoveStories Readers’ award for the best historical, and the Greek Public Book award for the best foreign novel. She was also a finalist for a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart®.

A novel from Natalie Meg Evans is an epic journey, built around a strong female character locked in a struggle for independence and to realise her creative dreams. Where do these stories come from?
Perhaps from a pivotal event just days after her sixth birthday when her dad died in a car accident. It not only robbed Natalie of a beloved friend but engulfed her family. Her mother, traumatised by shock, nevertheless became the rock-like personality that inspires the characters of Natalie’s heroines. Financial trauma and schoolyard bullying dominated Natalie’s childhood, and as children do, she found security in reading and in the recesses of her imagination. She wrote her first book in the aftermath of her dad’s passing, tellingly about a robin who left his wife and fledglings in the nest to find food and never returned. It still makes her sister cry! Her adult stories are far more upbeat (and multi-layered!) but nevertheless, deal with the realities of life and with injustice.

Author links


Interview


1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself? 

Something about me . . . I live in the English countryside. Though I spent some exciting years in my 20s living in London, I’m a country girl at heart and always knew I’d eventually retreat to a small village. Where I am now is in the east of England, a place surrounded by farmland. I have a garden, a house which I’m doing up, one dog and a crowd of friends. I know I’m very lucky and am thankful for what I have, following a couple of turbulent decades. The occupation on my passport reads ‘Author’ which I proudly wrote in the last time I renewed it. Prior to that, I’d put ‘Company Administrator’ or ‘PR executive’, the job I did while I worked at getting a novel published.

2. You've wanted to be a published writer since you were very young.
What made you choose to be an author?

The writing seed was planted early, by my mother when I was about four years old. During my childhood there was little TV and none of the digital entertainment we have now. For fun, we went outside and played or read books. My mother took note of my story telling and told everyone I was going to be a writer. I wasn’t at all impressed as I wanted to open a sweet shop. A little later, because I loved history, I decided I’d be an archaeologist. Then I wanted to become an actress. I did go on stage for a few years, but writing gradually took over – once I’d stopped trying to prove my mother wrong! I wrote my first novel aged 22 but it took an awful long time for me to learn the craft. History and the stage have come together in The Wardrobe Mistress which is set in London’s theatre district in 1946.

3. The Milliner's Secret is going to be changed in The Girl Who Dreamed of Paris. Why are you rebranding the cover and title?

I and my UK editor, Kathryn Taussig at Quercus, first talked about rebranding my eBook A Gown of Thorns. This is a time slip novel melding a modern story with memories of the war in occupied France. Title was my idea. The story features a couture gown with an anguished past, and while I still like the title, it didn’t resonate so well with readers. That novel has been re-titled ‘Summer in the Vineyards’ which perfectly evokes the story. With The Milliner’s Secret, some reader feedback suggested that the word ‘Milliner’ came across as old-fashioned. The main character, Coralie de Lirac, is old-fashioned, in that the story begins in 1937! But of course, readers aren’t living in the past, they’re experiencing the novel’s era on the page. The Girl Who Dreamed of Paris was my idea this time, and it sums up Coralie who dreams of running away to a different life, and is swept up in danger, intrigue and passion. Each book has been given a fresh cover and both have a summery feel, while hopefully enticing the reader in.

4. You're a very skilled artist. You've put in a beautiful drawing of a vintage gown for our giveaway. Do you also draw other things or do you love to draw vintage gowns the most?

Thank you for calling me a skilled artist! I went to Art College when I left school and though it wasn’t the happiest time in my life, it left me with a sense of ‘something unfinished.’ If I could run two lives parallel, my other would be as a painter, with my own studio. I like to draw gowns and hats to illustrate my work, because it’s a way of getting under the skin of a fashion era. One of my treasures is a collection of vintage Vogue magazines, and I look at the work of long-ago fashion sketchers and melt with admiration. They could sum up a ‘look’ with a few strokes of a pen and washes of ink. It is a skill you don’t see very often now.

5. You write about a difficult and turbulent time, why have you chosen this period for your story?

You’re right, I focus on the ‘thirties, war time and the years just after. War, sadly, creates a level of tension and jeopardy that is missing in peace time. That’s good for a novelist. I also feel that I have a perspective on the past because of the decade I was born in. That being the sixties. It was a time of radical social change, yet the Second World War was only sixteen years in the past. If you think about it, that’s the same time-lapse as the first Gulf War is from us in 2017. For my parents, war was part of their lives. You may think it makes me very ancient, but I spent a lot of time in the company of great aunts and uncles who had served in the First World War! They were in their seventies when I was born. It gives me a view back into the early part of the twentieth century and for me, it isn’t dry history, it reflects the life and experiences of the people who brought me up.

6. Your main character is a skilled designer, what inspired you to give her these talents?

All my female lead characters, Alix, Coralie, Shauna, Vanessa, have varied talents but they share a passion to rise to the top of their professions. None of them have easy lives, and they have to be dogged, and in some cases ‘cheat’ a little to attain their goals. I suspect this reflects my own life. I haven’t had a meteoric rise to success. It has taken many years, with more setbacks than I care to think about. I write about young women with dreams in an era when female ambition wasn’t taken seriously. What they achieve – and it’s never quite what they set out for – is hard earned and more valuable for it. My characters are also flawed people (I don’t much like goody-goodies) and their life journeys are as much about emotional lessons as they are about success.

7. Could you describe what romance means to you?

Romance for me is the sizzle of attraction, the excitement of realising that it’s reciprocated. Being alone with the one you love, paying attention to each other, being able to exclude the world for a while … that’s romance. Romance is the flaring coals, whereas love is the steady flame that burns on, whichever wind is blowing.

8. What's your favorite historical period and why?

My favourite historical period . . . to write about or to live in? If I had to go back to one period of time, I’d choose the 1920s. In my fantasy world, it would be forever 1925, before the great Depression. The roads would be almost empty, Britain would still be a place of sleepy, rustic villages and manageably-sized cities. Jazz would be the music of choice, gentlemen would still raise their hats, and stand up when a lady entered the room. Travel would be luxurious and romantic . . . I’d have Virginia Wolf’s ideal situation for a woman: £5000 a year and a room of my own, and I’d buy my clothes from Molyneux in London. My favourite period for writing is either the 1930s, for its drama or the Regency. I spent a year in my early 20s reading Georgette Heyer’s romances to stave off the loneliness of living in a big city. For me, no snapshot of history quite equals the years between 1811 and 1820 for vivacity, charm and social fluidity.

9. Your covers are stunning. How involved are you in the creative process?

 I too love my covers, and would love to claim they were all my own work but alas, I have no part in them. They are sent to me for my approval, and I always do approve because my editor uses some incredibly talented people. A good cover is true art. You have to sum catch the eye in a moment, look good in a bookshop, on a computer screen or smartphone. You also have to imply the story lurking between the covers so a reader can intuit what she’s going to get. Ideally, you are fresh and original, but not too ‘out there.’ I always look forward to seeing the first visuals, like a child at Christmas.

10. You're very devoted to dogs and horses, with a penchant for adopting elderly and needy ones. Can you tell us about the animals that are a part of your family now?

Growing up, I was passionate about ponies and horses, and spent all my pocket money and my paper-round money on riding lessons. That love never left me, though it took me until I was 40 to be able to afford my first horse. That one horse eventually became six, some of them rescue cases, who lived as free and happy a life as I could give them. I eventually got my own fields, and looked after them myself at home. Bliss. Of those six, I rehomed two as my marriage began to break down and I knew I was going to struggle to keep them all. The other four died one after the other. They’d come to me in their middle-age and they just grew old. I look back on their time with me and know that they were safe and happy, enjoying companionship and the freedom to be themselves. Dogs, also grow old and I lost my two elderly Labradors in the first two months of 2017. Suddenly, I had no four-legged friends and I grieved for them. But, to quote the beautiful hymn, ‘Love shall come again, as the wheat that springeth green.’ A week ago, I fetched home Georgia from a rescue centre. She is a Malinoise, a German shepherd type, who was found abandoned on the streets and taken to a shelter. She’s about two years old and an absolute sweetie. As I write this, she’s stretched out on her sofa beside me. Her sofa, note.

11. What can we expect from you in the future?

Future plans are The Wardrobe Mistress, which comes out as an eBook this June and in paperback this August. This story is set in a badly-damaged London theatre just after the war, people worn out from the struggle and wanting a bit of fun and glamour. Vanessa Kingcourt is trying to discover more about the father who abandoned her. He was an actor and when she was a little child, he introduced her to the beautiful Eva, who was the wardrobe mistress in the theatre where Vanessa now works. The story is in part Vanessa’s search for the truth about her parentage, and also her determination to create authentic costumes for a period play when every kind of material is in terribly short supply. It is a romance, of course. Alistair Redenhall, an ex-Royal Navy commander, now owns the theatre. He wants it to succeed as much as Vanessa does. He has no interest in falling in love, however, as he’s trying to pull his failing marriage together. Vanessa cannot compete with his glamourous, aristocratic wife, Fern, yet something about her demands his attention.
I’m planning also a sequel to my first novel, The Dress Thief, set in 1943 in occupied France and a contemporary thriller that has a whiff of the paranormal about it. I’m excited about both stories – the modern thriller will be very different to my previous novels. I won’t ever stop writing the historicals. In a way, that is a contract I made with myself as a history-obsessed child.

Giveaway


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a signed Fashion Vintage sketch (which will be mount on art board) and signed copies of The Dress Thief and The Milliner's Secret. A very lucky runner up will win signed copies of The Dress Thief and The Milliner's Secret. The signed books will be earlier editions with the original cover and titles.

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

Book Review - A Proposal from the Crown Prince by Jessica Gilmore

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads

Review by Suze

Posy is a skilled ballet dancer, but somehow she's never being chosen as a principal. When she overhears something that shatters her dreams she flees to Villa Rosa on L'Isola dei Fiori, her gorgeous inheritance. There she meets a stranger on the beach who might not be able to mend her heart, but will be a good distraction. Posy and Nico share a wonderful moment together. However, they both don't expect it to have such an impact on the rest of their lives.

Nico is the crown prince of L'Isola dei Fiori. He has a reputation to think of and has to get married. It's time for him to fully commit to his responsibilities as a future king. When he spends one more passionate moment with a woman he desires he doesn't expect someone to find out, but things don't go according to plan and now he has to convince the woman to become his bride. Will he be successful and is it what he wants or will he regret the moment he shared with Posy forever?

A Proposal from the Crown Prince is a fun feelgood story set on a beautiful island. Posy is a beautiful woman. She can dance, she's gracious and she's intelligent. She doesn't have much life experience and it's time for her to do something about it. Only she doesn't expect it to have so many life changing consequences. Posy and Nico get along well, but he's guarded. The last thing the studious former player Nico wants is to rule a kingdom, but he knows it's his responsibility and he's dedicated to his people. I liked that a lot about his character. It's clear from the start that Nico and Posy have a lot of chemistry and it was interesting to see if they could also get along and be friends as well.

L'Isola dei Fiori is a stunning setting. I liked the idea of a small kingdom on an island. It isn't very realistic, but it's definitely entertaining. Jessica Gilmore's vivid descriptions of the island, its palace and the intrigues that come with it are enchanting. I really enjoyed reading about the family dynamics, the scandals and the plans Nico has for the future of his island. A Proposal from the Crown Prince is a great quick and easy read, it's lighthearted, charming and cute and it has a fabulous romantic ending.

Advice 

If you love reading romantic stories about beautiful islands and royalty A Proposal from the Crown Prince would be an excellent choice. The story is part of the Summer at Villa Rosa series, but can easily be read as a standalone.

Book Review - Fallen Angel by J.L. Myers

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads

Review by Anniek

Lucifer was once an angel and God's servant. Angels are not free to do whatever they want. Everything comes down to the jobs that God has assigned to them. Lucifer fell in love with Gabriel, because he couldn't resist her beauty and her goodness. It's this love that caused Lucifer to be banished from heaven. On earth he has to live a human life, but he soon finds out that he still has more power than he thought. What will Lucifer do about all the hatred he's feeling inside?

Lucifer wasn't a bad angel or human. He just wanted to be free. The fact that his God left him to fend for himself left deep scars on his soul. Lucifer loves Gabriel dearly, but even with her pleading him to do better he can't return to the angel he was before. Lucifer thrives on power and he's a master at manipulation. Although he makes a lot of decisions that are pure evil I still understood where he was coming from. Lucifer's heart is wounded and he feels betrayed. However, Gabriel is persistent and I couldn't wait to discover if Lucifer would eventually be able to heal with the help of her love.

Fallen Angel is a unique and new look on how heaven and hell were formed. It also tells an interesting story about the origin of vampires. I loved the way J.L. Myers brought in a different and unique perspective. Lucifer is always seen as a fallen angel, but this story shows his feelings and indicates that he might not be so bad after all. I love reading about ancient times and J.L. Myers positively surprised me with this beautiful, thought-provoking story. I have been a fan ever since I read What Lies Inside and I can't wait to start reading the next book by this amazing author.

Advice

If you love to read about angels and vampires Fallen Angel will be a perfect choice. The book is part of the Blood Bound Series, but can easily be read as a standalone.

September 2017 New Release Giveaway Hop


Enter this giveaway for a chance to win a September 2017 release of your choice worth $16. Good luck!


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


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Book Review - Instructions for a Second-hand Heart by Tamsyn Murray

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads

Review by Suze

Niamh and Leo are competitive, but Niamh almost never wins. Leo is the perfect child and Niamh doesn't feel like she can compare to her twin brother. She hates this part of him, but not so much that she'd forever wants to be without it. When a devastating accident takes Leo's life she doesn't know how to cope and suddenly feels very alone. Niamh has to find a way to live without her brother. 

When someone Niamh doesn't know contacts her on social media she initially finds it creepy and doesn't want to reply. Jonny wants to let her know he is in some way connected to her, but he is too afraid to tell her how. Especially when he decides to take a chance and meets her. He then discovers how much he likes her. Will Jonny and Niamh be able to form a friendship? Can Niamh handle the truth behind Jonny's appearance in her life and will there be a permanent place in her world for him?

Instructions for a Second-hand Heart is a beautiful emotional story. Leo loses his life and Jonny gets a chance at living his. That already made me tear up. Tamsyn Murray describes the different stages of grief her main characters are going through in a fantastic emphatic way and it was easy to understand them. Both Jonny and Niamh don't always make the wisest decisions, they act on impulse and that makes fascinating reading. I liked that they aren't perfect and have their flaws, insecurities and instabilities. Because of that they are interesting main characters.

Tamsyn Murray's writing has an easy flow, that makes it possible to completely focus on her story. She writes about the dark and difficult parts of life in an honest and raw way, but balances this with the healing power of love and friendship. I absolutely loved that combination and think it worked really well. Instructions for a Second-hand Heart is filled with unexpected twists and turns, complicated feelings and awkward situations. It's a fantastic book with many amazing layers and an impressive romantic ending.

Advice

If you love beautiful YA stories about life and death, Instructions for a Second-hand Heart would be an excellent choice.

Book Review - Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads

Review by Suze

For Loveday books are easier to handle than people. She already had to deal with a lot in her life, both as a child and an adult. Working with words makes her feel comfortable. When memories from her past start to appear Loveday doesn't know who's behind this. She never talks about what happened and doesn't want anyone to know, but it seems that didn't work out the way she planned. Someone discovered her biggest secret and now she's being confronted with it once more.

 Will Loveday be able to handle the parts of her past that are resurfacing? Will this lead to even more heartache or is she strong enough to cope? She doesn't have to face her difficulties alone this time, there are people who care about her. Will this make her able to open up? Will the magic of friendship, the possibilities of love and the beauty of poetry be able to heal her?

Lost for Words is a gorgeous story about a complex and fascinating heroine. I immediately loved Loveday. She's both tough and sensitive at the same time. Stephanie Butland tells Loveday's story by alternating between the past and the present and I was equally compelled by each part of her life. She's an intriguing main character with a fantastic job. Loveday doesn't let people in, but she has to learn that putting up walls isn't always the right thing to do, trust can be liberating even though it's scary. I liked that amazing captivating aspect of the story and its thought-provoking message a lot.

Stephanie Butland has a stunning writing style and I enjoyed every single sentence of Lost for Words. The book is a true treasure, it's fabulously written, delightfully interesting and absolutely spellbinding. I loved the story from beginning to end, every chapter is exactly as it should be. The story has plenty of emotional layers, the main characters are easy to love or hate, depending on their role, and I effortlessly got lost in Loveday's world and never wanted to put the novel down again. I highly recommend this brilliant book.

Advice

If you love beautiful emotional stories about the healing power of books, love, poetry and friendship Lost for Words is an absolute must-read.

2,000,000 Views Thank You Post & Giveaway


Thank You 
By Suze

Today With Love for Book reached a beautiful milestone, our 2 millionth view. I'm very proud we've managed to come this far. When I started a book blog together with Anniek I knew what to expect when it came to writing reviews and blogging itself, but I had no idea how much fun we'd have together. Running the blog is a daily joy. I love our book chats and Anniek has taught me a lot about being brave and standing up for myself, she made me bolder and more outspoken and less afraid to ask for something. We learn from each other every day and I love her spirit and her enthusiasm. We are both perfectionists, but have fortunately never lost sight of what we started this blog for, to share our love for our mutual biggest passion, books.

With Love for Books is a positive only space. We like to recommend, to cheer authors on and to express our admiration for good stories. Anniek and I want to support and strive to let as many people as possible know how much we enjoyed something. It's an approach that makes us happy. Getting positive feedback when we post a review from readers, publishers and authors is what keeps us going. Making someone's day because of a prize we sent, is something we like a lot as well. It's what makes us want to blog and it's what puts a big smile on our faces.

Friendship is the most important driving force behind With Love for Books. Not only have Anniek and I become even closer friends through our daily updates and book discussions, but we've also met many wonderful people through our blog. This warms my heart every single day and I know Anniek feels the exact same way. It's the best feeling there is. Anniek and I are close and together we've become close to many incredibly special people. Thank you all for your amazing support and heartwarming friendship.

Giveaway


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a prize pack with a Kindle Fire 7 and a Sass & Belle Unicorn pillow, tote bag, mirror, notebook and wash bag. Good luck!


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

Monday, September 11, 2017

Girl Witch with Book Tote Bag, Mug & Pillow Giveaway



Enter this giveaway for a chance to win a Girl Witch with Book tote bag, pillow and mug set designed by Illustore. Good luck!


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

The Queen's Game by Carla de Guzman - Book Review & Interview

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads

Review by Suze

Nina is a princess and her father is the beloved king of Cincamarre. Nina has always planned to return to the island, but first she had some traveling and living to get out of the way. When her father suddenly dies she has to go back home to rule her country. However, there's her aunt Delia to deal with. Delia isn't a fan of Nina's lifestyle, of the wild days she used to have with a pop star for example. Nina has to prove she's capable and to do that she has to fake date Felipe, the handsome prince of the neighboring island. His reputation is flawless and he should be a good influence. Is doing what her aunt says really what Nina needs to do or is being herself the right approach instead?

The Queen's Game is a fun whirlwind of a story. I immediately loved Nina. She does what she likes, she's independent and she gets the maximum out of every situation. Her behavior might not be impeccable, but she's genuine and has a good heart. She makes people feel good about themselves, which is something I liked about her a lot. She's a great friend and she and Felipe have a wonderful easy connection. I couldn't wait to find out if Nina would find a way to avoid becoming her aunt's pawn and couldn't turn the pages quickly enough. She's discovering a lot about herself and finds romance in the process, which made the story even more cute.

Carla de Guzman writes about the most beautiful settings in a gorgeous vivid way. I immediately fell in love with Cincamarre. I liked the way she describes both the atmosphere of the island and the problems the people are dealing with, so it isn't just a magic fairytale island, but it's also clear for the reader which challenges Nina would face when she'd become queen. She does this with a heartwarming sense of humor that works really well. The Queen's Game is charming, endearing, incredibly entertaining and very sweet.

Advice

If you love funny romantic stories about beautiful kingdoms The Queen's Game would be a perfect choice.

About Carla de Guzman


If you ask Carla what she does for a living, she will tell you that she’s not quite sure.

By day, she works a regular day job and writes for a lifestyle website. By night, she’s an author and an artist, spending her midnights at her desk and making these silly love stories. She loves to travel, coming home to her dog Kimchi and spending her weekends having dinner with her crazy family.

She’s currently on a quest to see as many Impressionist paintings as she can, and is always in search of the perfect pain au chocolat.
Say Hello!

I'm online! Choose your medium and message away, or leave your reviews! 


Interview

1) Can you tell a bit about yourself? 

Hi my name is Carla, and I write romance! I enjoy writing romance books around places I've travelled to, and the kilig stories that inspired them. I'm a proud member of #romanceclass, a community of writers and readers in the Philippines, and I have a dog named Kimchi. 

2) What inspired you to write about royalty? 

I have always always wanted to write a royals romance. It just took me come time to come up with exactly the kind of romance I wanted to read. I'm a bit of a history buff, so I loved reading about their stories and researching their customs and protocols. When Netflix's The Crown came out, I knew I wanted to write something that centered around a future queen, but this time in an Asian setting. There are not enough Asian-set stories, royalty even more so!

3) How did you handle your research for your story? 

There is a lot of material out there if you wanted to do research on royalty, but I think the most helpful for me was watching the movies. Any historical royal thing I could get my hands on, I watched--The King's Speech, The Crown, Grace of Monaco, Roman Holiday, a couple of seasons of Reign and all the current royal romance books I could get my hands on. The Young Victoria most helpful to me because it was very much a love story, and it was a nice study in the power dynamics that come with a royal couple. 

For the more detailed things, it helped that I followed a couple of Instagram accounts documenting almost everything that Kate Middleton does--including her staff, her royal duties, her outfits, even. The Internet is rife with research material. A few of my friends also told me stories about the Norwegian royals, who are so much fun, and I did a lot of reading up on the Chrysanthemum Throne of Japan (it's really interesting) and the current royals of Thailand and Brunei for the implications of a lese-majeste law. Then there was research into Monaco's relationship with France as a principality. 

4) How did your writing career start? 

I want to say that it really started when I joined #romanceclass. Being part of the community not only gave my books readers, but it gave me things to read as well. The support I got (and still get) is overwhelming, and without them, I don't think I would have continued writing past my first book. 

5) Where do you read and where do you write? 

Read everywhere, write anywhere is my motto. My life has no schedule, I can be here one day and the next find myself in a middle of a farmland in the province. I learned to be flexible, adapt. This is why I'm so grateful to modern technology. Ebooks and cloud files let me access my things from whenever I need them, so I can just type on my phone whenever I feel like writing. 

6) How did you choose the setting for your story? 

I went to Batanes! I honestly believe that it's one of the most beautiful landscapes in the country, and they've managed to preserve a lot about their culture and traditions. At the time I was world building a completely new country so I could make the rules myself, and Batanes was the perfect backdrop to base it on. 

7) What's your favorite royal couple? 

How to choose a favorite among them, though? Hahaha! I like Will and Kate's story because it's everything a modern royal romance should be, but I also love Victoria and Albert because their love story was epic, and the kind that made history. I love that both these couples hold each other as partners in the relationship, and knew how to share the burdens of royal life together. That's the only way you can survive in any relationship, I think, and I like writing that kind of dynamic. 

8) What does romance mean to you? 

It means fun, consensual and hawt. It means exploring emotions, and being uncomfortable sometimes, but it always has a happy ending. 

9) What is your biggest dream when it comes to writing? 

To be able to keep doing it. Again and again and again and again!

10) What are your plans for the future?

Right now, I'm working with #romanceclass for the release of a New York set book Making A Scene, which will be part of the new Flair imprint!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Kindle Fire, Owl Pouch & Amazon Gift Card Giveaway



Enter this giveaway for a chance to win a Kindle Fire 7, a $15 Amazon gift card (or your country's equivalent) and an owl pouch made by Melvis Makes. Good luck!


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

Book Review - The Little Bakery on Rosemary Lane by Ellen Berry

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads

Review by Suze

Roxanne left Yorkshire when she was a teenager. She's now in her late forties and works as a fashion editor. She's successful at what she does, but when something happens at work that unsettles her and gets her in trouble with the man she's dating, she decides to go back to Burley Bridge to stay with her sister Della. Della owns a cookbook shop on Rosemary Lane. Yorkshire is very different from London, will Roxanne be able to feel at home there?

Roxanne doesn't know how long she's going to stay with Della. While she thought the countryside would be boring she's actually enjoying long walks with her sister's dog, making new friends and helping out at the shop. Michael, a cute bakery owner from across the street makes life a lot more interesting as well. Roxanne has some tough choices to make, will her beloved London still be enough when it's time to go home?

The Little Bakery on Rosemary Lane is a charming story about fashion, cookbooks and delicious bread. I immediately loved Roxanne. She's creative, a little insecure, artistic and kind. She's dating a successful photographer, a horrible selfish man. His character is a bit of a cliche, which made it a lot of fun to read about him. In Yorkshire Roxanne has the chance to take a good look at her life in London. I liked the way she slowly changes, how she finally becomes her true self and finds out that she can have a rich fulfilled life in many different ways, as long as it's her choice and not someone else's. Sometimes it takes people a few years to learn important lessons and as Roxanne is at a crossroads it's the ideal time for her to find out what life is really all about, which is what I loved most about her story.

Ellen Berry writes about a stunning setting. Rosemary Lane is quaint and romantic and the inhabitants are endearing. I certainly enjoyed reading about Michael and his bread. He also has fascinating children and his breezy daughter is giving the story a great extra emotional layer. The Little Bakery on Rosemary Lane put a big smile on my face. It's an entertaining story with fabulous main characters who learn to follow their hearts, wonderful passions and plenty of feelgood elements.

Advice

If you love romantic stories set in beautiful countryside villages the Rosemary Lane books by Ellen Berry are a great choice. They can be read as standalones, but if you like to fully understand Della's story I'd start with The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane.

Book Review - The Postman's Fiancée by Denis Thériault

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads

Review by Suze

Tania is originally from Bavaria and moved to Canada to study. She's abandoned her plans for a while and is working as a waitress in a restaurant instead. One of her regulars is Bolido, a postman who's passionate about calligraphy. Tania immediately likes Bolido, but does she have a chance with this curious man? When Bolido shows an interest in haiku Tania thinks she's found a way to communicate with him. She tries to reach him in verse, however, Bolido has other things on his mind. What can she do to make him notice her and will Tania ever be able to truly become part of his world?

The Postman's Fiancée is a beautiful story filled with unexpected twists and turns. Tania is cheerful and she's great with customers, but her love for Bolido changes her. It's a transformation that's both fascinating and a little unsettling. Bolido is always slightly out of reach and the reasons behind that made me curious from the beginning. I loved the connections between the main characters, they're different, off kilter, intriguing and surprising. I'm thrilled when an author can amaze me over and over again and Denis Thériault's writing definitely made me happy. He skillfully plays with both his characters and his readers, which made me fall in love with his story head over heels.

The Postman's Fiancée is a unique novel. I loved Denis Thériault's gorgeous sentences and his stunning haiku. The complex relationships and dramatic hidden emotions of the main characters are making it even better. It all comes together in a fantastic bizarre plot. The ending of the story moved me to tears, it's symbolic, thought-provoking, moving and bittersweet. I loved every word of The Postman's Fianceé. It's a story I highly recommend, a true gem that's among the best books I've read in a very long time.

Advice

If you love beautiful unique stories you should definitely read The Postman's Fiancée.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Secrets of Villa Rosso by Linn B. Halton - Book Review, Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads

Review by Suze

Ellie is happily married to her soulmate Josh. For Ellie family always comes first and that's why she usually doesn't travel for her job. When Ellie's boss can't go on a business trip to Italy Ellie makes an exception and takes her place. She works for an interior design company and her destination is Villa Rosso in Italy. Ellie immediately feels a connection to the place and the people she meets. She also feels very much at ease with the man she closely has to work with, Max. It's like she's known him for a long time. Will Ellie be able to make the most of her stay in Italy? Her visit changes her, how will the secrets she's taking home with her influence her once so peaceful life?

The Secrets of Villa Rosso is a beautiful story about true love. I love it when souls connect on a deeper level and am a big fan of stories about this topic. Linn B. Halton skillfully writes about it and managed to captivate me from beginning to end. Her main characters are interesting and I immediately had the idea I could get really close to them. They have complex personalities with distinctive character traits, which makes them incredibly interesting to read about. Ellie is a kind woman with a big heart. She's always there for the people who need her and sometimes that makes things hard for her. She has to make some difficult decisions and reading about them kept me on the edge of my seat. Sometimes the right way to do something is also the wrong way, which is the exact thing that made me fall in love with The Secrets of Villa Rosso. I really enjoyed reading about Ellie, the important people in her life and everything they're going through together.

Linn B. Halton has a wonderful writing style. Her vivid descriptions make her characters and settings come to life in an impressive way and it's easy to lose myself in the atmosphere she creates. Her stories always manage to enchant me and I can't help but read every book she writes in one sitting, because she makes me too curious to put them down. Her stories are filled with magical bonds, love on many different levels, fascinating emotional layers and plenty of precious moments. The Secrets of Villa Rosso is a special story with a stunning emotional ending that moved me to tears. I highly recommend this fantastic book.

Advice

If you love reading about soul mates and like complex secrets you will definitely like The Secrets of Villa Rosso.

About Linn B. Halton


Bristol-born Linn B Halton lives in the Forest of Dean, in the UK.

"I'm a hopeless romantic, self-confessed chocaholic, and lover of strong coffee. For me, life is about family, friends, writing ... and house renovation! Oh, and the occasional glass of White Grenache..."

An Amazon UK Top 100 best-selling author with A Cottage in the Country in November 2015, Under the Stars and A Little Sugar, A Lot of Love also became best-sellers in 2016 & 2017. Linn's novels have been short-listed in the UK's Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards. Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award.

Linn writes chick lit, women's contemporary fiction and psychic romance for Harper Impulse, Choc Lit and Endeavour Press.

Author links

Twitter: @LinnBHalton

Guest post


Setting the scene for ‘The Secrets of Villa Rosso’
by Linn B. Halton

Why Italy?

The idea for this story began three years ago, but it took a long time to find the perfect setting. Ironically, what led me to Castrovillari was an article I read about ‘the black year of Italian olive oil’ in 2014. It affected Spain, as well, but the olive fruit fly and a damaging bacterium, which lead to the loss of very many old trees, resulted in a disastrous harvest.

As I have often taken holidays in Italy over the years, it was already a place about which I was very passionate. Well, the food is amazing and the people are so welcoming, but it’s also a very atmospheric and stunningly beautiful country.

Castrovillari is a historic town in the foothills of Calabria and with a population of around 22,000 it was, I realised, the perfect setting. The unfortunately poor harvest of 2014 was the key to unlocking my story. While the novel is completely fictional, it deals with the aftermath of that unfortunate time. The livelihoods of so many families would have been drastically affected. It really was a poignant centerpiece to the wider story I wanted to wrap very gently around it.

I hope that what comes through quite strongly is the amazing connections people can make and how the results can ripple outwards with enormous effect. But also, the way in which some connections are more special than others and affect our hearts. Even when our heads are telling us it’s an impossible situation. This is a love story with an adventure and what better setting than amongst the wonderful olive groves of Castrovillari …

Excerpt

It isn’t just the sunshine and the electric blue sky, but the musical calls of the countryside that reach out to me. A chorus of low-level sounds play like a soft melody in the background. It’s breathtakingly beautiful and I feel like I’m watching a re-run of a favourite film. I could stand here for a long time simply taking in the detail and with each sweep of my eyes noticing something new.

Spinning around I look back at the villa, taking in the rustic beauty of the stonework and the pale orange-red hue of the sun-bleached roof tiles. This is, quite simply, unreal. It’s a little piece of heaven and, so far removed from my daily life that it’s hard to believe this is on the same planet. The sheer scale of the landscape literally steals your breath away. I’m a mere speck, small and insignificant in the grand scheme nature is presenting to me. But rather bizarrely, it doesn’t feel alien in anyway at all. The vastness isn’t overwhelming, but strangely comforting.

I walk back to a cluster of wooden tables surrounding a small fountain and take a seat. As I dive into my bag to extract some sunglasses, I hear a polite cough and look up at the face staring down at me.

‘Mrs Maddison? I’m Max, Max Johnson. Welcome to Villa Rosso.’

I stand, automatically plastering a pleasant smile on my surprised face as recognition kicks in. I know this man, I mean, I’ve met him before. At least I think I have, but there’s nothing similar reflected back at me, only a warm smile. The sort of smile that radiates out from mysteriously deep, hazel eyes. We shake hands. He’s younger than I expected, probably in his early forties and tall. Six foot something that’s for sure, because I feel he’s towering over me.

‘I’m sorry to disturb you. I just wanted you to know that I’m here at your disposal whenever you are ready to begin. Would you like me to fetch you a coffee so you can sit for a while and enjoy the view?’

Although I knew he was British, his tan and elegant demeanour lend an air of cosmopolitan sophistication. I would not have been at all surprised if he had been Italian. He’s hovering politely and I still haven’t answered him…

Giveaway

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads

One very lucky reader of With Love For Books will receive a signed paperback copy of Falling: Angels Among Us by Linn B. Halton.

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