#Review | The House That Alice Built by Chris Penhall #TheHouseThatAliceBuilt @ChrisPenhall @RubyFiction @ChocLituk
Hello, my lovely readers! Today I have the huge pleasure to be sharing my review of the heart-warming; The House That Alice Built, which is the debut novel by Chris Penhall, so grab a cuppa and enjoy.
Home is where the heart is …
Alice Dorothy Matthews is sensible. Whilst her best friend Kathy is living it up in Portugal and her insufferable ex Adam is travelling the world, Alice is working hard to pay for the beloved London house she has put her heart and soul into renovating.
But then a postcard from Buenos Aires turns Alice’s life upside down. One very unsensible decision later and she is in Cascais, Portugal, and so begins her lesson in ‘going with the flow’; a lesson that sees her cat-sitting, paddle boarding, dancing on top of bars and rediscovering her artistic talents.
But perhaps the most important part of the lesson for Alice is that you don’t always need a house to be at home
What a wonderful debut from an author who I am sure is going to have a long and fruitful career full of more glorious words, which I am looking forward to reading more of. This is a very real and uplifting story about a sensible but very relatable woman, this is one of those books that no matter who you are or where you are in your life, you will feel a real kinship to it, Alice could be you, a friend or a family member her story is one that is pretty normal and that anyone could find themselves in her shoes. The thing I really took away from this book was that no matter what we do in life, make some time to just have fun and see where it leads you, that is such a great message.
Alice is the girl next door, she is the sensible one, she is the work-a-holic who has finally settled down, she doesn’t take chances she just goes about her day to day London life. Her best friend Kathy, who currently is living life in splendid colour over in Portugal has been pestering Alice to go over and have some fun, but Alice I would say she has found herself stuck in her ways, she has out all of her energy in this beautiful home her and her dim-wit of a boyfriend bought for themselves. On the outside Alive has everything, good job, handsome boyfriend a beautiful home, what more could a woman want?
Well, as we all know you can never judge a book by its cover and there is always far more going on inside the pages of a persons life, Alice’s life is anything but perfect, her job may not be all that jazz, her boyfriend is actually an ex-boyfriend who has buggered off on jolly holiday around the world – but at least she has her house.
It wouldn’t be a story without a bit of an upheaval would it, and Alice certainly has one hell of a shock in store for her that turns her life upside down, so she does what her friend has been urging her to do, she goes to Portugal and it is while there we see the real Alice emerge from this tightly wrapped up prim and proper woman, this Alice is fun, adventurous and brave.
What I really loved about this is that from those first few pages I got an instant impression of the characters, Alice is a sweetheart, I really related to her, I so wanted her to be happy, you get a sense that beneath that sensible exterior there is another woman waiting to break free – which we see burst forth once she reaches Portugal. Her friend Kathy is a hoot, she came across as a bit dippy-hippy, but this woman has a really good heart and Adam, well from the first few pages I instantly disliked him, he came across as an ignorant, pompous and way too self-centred little boy than a man for my liking – which foes to show the quality of Chris Penhall’s excellent writing, she can make you fall in love as well as leave you reeling all within a few pages, it is a piece of brilliant writing.
Overall this is a heart-warming story all about finding the courage to face adversity, about finding your own peace and pulling yourself back together in order to move forward, if that means running away to be able to go forward then so be it. The whole story is fresh and fun, the plot is a simple one but what takes this from the ordinary to the excellent is the warmth in Alice’s character the beauty of the setting and the overpowering feeling of just being able to enjoy yourself. I really loved this, I liked the journey we are taken on as Alice finds her feet.
This is a great weekend/holiday book and one I definitely recommend having a read.
This was a complimentary copy via the publisher which I voluntarily reviewed, thank you, Liz. X
The House That Alice Built is available now.
Hello my lovely readers! I have the huge pleasure to be sharing my review of one of the steamiest, sexiest books I have read this year; The Bad Sister by Rachael Stewart. So hold on to your knickers as I tell you a wee bit about this hot book.
TEN YEARS AGO, SHE RIPPED HIS HEART OUT… BUT NOW SHE’S BACK AND SHE NEEDS HIM.
When movie star Carrie Evans begs her ordinary twin sister to switch lives with her for three weeks, all Carrie can think about is escaping the trappings of Hollywood. But returning to England throws her into the path of old flame Dan Stevenson, the boy she left behind—without telling him why. And Dan’s no longer the soft, dependable guy, quick to do her bidding. He’s hot, sexy and dangerous…everything her career-savvy self should run away from.
But she can’t.
When Carrie walked out of Dan’s life without a backward glance, she broke his heart. Now, she’s back begging him to help save her sister’s business. The fire is still there: he wants her, and she wants him. But forgiveness? Never. He’s not the boy he once was. He’s a man in control, used to getting what he wants, and he’ll help her, as well as do a whole lot more.
But can their hearts survive a second time around…especially when the truth of the past comes out?
Phew!!! My goodness me, Rachael Stewart what are you doing to me? What a scorcher, seriously I need a cold shower after that. Honestly, while your reading I can guarantee that your pulse will race, your temperature with sore and your underwear will start to feel ridiculously uncomfortable – in fact, I would say read this in bed while wearing your birthday suit. 😉
This is the second book in this mini series and I hate to say it, but I haven’t read the first book; The Good Sister, that didn’t take any of the enjoyment out of this though, it just makes me want to read it all the more. As I hadn’t read the first – and I know a few reviewers did go into this book slightly biased and against the heroine; Carrie. – I came into this story with completely fresh eyes, as I hadn’t read the first book I didn’t know all about Carrie being the ‘bad’ sister, or why she was even labeled as such – which I think was a good thing as I saw the real woman, the character’ that Ms Stewart wanted readers to see. I saw her as a determined, resilient, intelligent, brave young women who has fought for everything she has ever wanted, and unfortunately that did mean sacrificing so much. She does come across as cold at times, but there are reasons for that, there are reasons for every move she has ever done. I really like how Carrie has been portrayed, I like her depth, her kindness, her real heart and her vulnerability that she tries so hard to hide. She is a multilayered characters that can really stir the emotions of the reader and that writing is a real skill.
The story open’s ten years earlier when Carrie choses to follow her father to LA to chase her much wanted dream of becoming an actress, but her choice to follow her dream comes at a cost. That cost is breaking three people’s hearts; the man who loves her Dan, her twin sister who loves Dan; Isla, and finally her own. Even though most think she hasn’t got a heart to break!
Now she’s back and she needs the help of the very man she abandoned all those years ago, the very man who hates her and who still loves her – very deep down! She wants to put things right, she has come back to rescue her sister Isla’s buissiness from ruin and she knows that there really is only one man who can help her do that, she just needs to avoid the daggers that are shooting at her from her frosted eyes. She thinks that she can just walk in and the Dan from her past will still be there to help her, what she doesn’t count on is that the Dan she knew and secretly loved isn’t the mighty, rough, tattooed, brutish sex god that is now standing in front of her. And let me tell you, this man isn’t the placid little boy she left behind he has really grown – in far more ways than one – he is now a man who is in full control of his life, he never takes no for an answer, he knows what he wants and he stops at nothing to get it. He agree’s to help her, under one condition – a condition that will shatter both their cold masks to show their real self’s beneath.
There are many, many descriptive words I can use for this book; sexy-as-hell, hot, steamy, seductive, raunchy, knickers melting, but there is so much more than just sex about this story. There is a real emotional pull to it, that will get under the readers skin grab your heart and not let go.
I am really picky about which erotic romances I read, over the years I had read many and most have been so bad that they did turned me off this genre slightly. Now I only read one or two authors in this genre and Rachael Stewart is definitely one of them, I was hooked with her work when I read her charity anthology; Filth but there is something very special about The Bad Sister, its out of this world good. The story and writing just flows seamlessly from one scene to the next, Dan and Carrie are brilliantly developed. Ms Stewart has a great talent at taking the reader on a highly emotional journey that is full of heart and lust.
Overall, this is an astoundingly good romance, sinfully captivating and highly seductive – and that’s just Dan!! Oh, my, oh, my!!! Racheal Stewart you made my weekend with this read, not only is it a truly wonderful book but Dan to me looked just like Tom Hardy….Swoon!!! Sex on legs tattooed, big and burly, a bit rough around the edge, kind-hearted, gorgeous…I could go on, but I’d rather just sit here salivating over luscious Dan 😉
This was an Arc copy via the author in exchange for an honest review, thank you Rachael.
The Bad Sister can be purchased from Amazon.
#Exclusive Guest Post : The Truth About Love And Dog’s; The Cover by Lilly Bartlett @MicheleGormanUK #GuestPost #TheTruthAboutLoveAndDogs
Hello my lovelies, Today I have a brilliant guest post for you to feast your eyes over, from the utterly charming Michele Gorman aka; Lilly Bartlett. Lilly is here chatting all about her new book; The Truth About Love and Dogs and the difference in US and UK covers. So, I will hand you over to Lilly…
The Cover by Lilly Bartlett.
How often do you pick up a book because of the cover? I do it all the time. It’s what makes me take the time to look at the description, read the first few paragraphs, and, if I like all that I see, decide to buy it.
So, is it any wonder that covers cause us authors so much angst? They might even make us more nervous than writing the book itself. That’s because writing is an evolutionary process. It takes months to do, plus there are many rounds of editing. But the cover is the instant, one-and-only first impression your book will make. It’s like getting ready for a first date with someone that you really really want to impress! You’ve only got one chance.
Every single author I know holds her breath when that email comes through from the publisher saying “Here’s the cover art and we hope you’ll love it as much as we do.”
So here it is: my one chance. These are the two covers we’ve chosen to make a first impression for The Truth About Love and Dogs.
What do you think? They’re very different from one another, aren’t they? That’s because tastes in romcom covers in the UK are so different from preferences in the US.
For the US cover – the basket of pups – we wanted something fun and eye-catching that conveys the book’s tone rather than the story exactly. Publishers go for the look and feel more than an image that literally tells you what the story is about (that’s the job of the title and the description). There are pugs in the book, by the way!
The UK cover might have a very different look, but its tone is the same. There, we wanted to project a cover the reader can fall into, with intriguing groupings of people that provoke curiosity.
I always ask my Facebook friends and newsletter followers for their feedback about my proposed covers, and the US readers mostly go for a photographic cover while UK readers love the illustrated ones. Does that hold true for you? Which do you like better?
Whichever cover grabs you most, I hope you’ll love the story inside!
About The Book
Four little words, uttered by her husband…
‘Oh my god,’ he gasped into her shoulder. ‘Shannon!’
There’s just one problem: her name isn’t Shannon.
Rewind six months and Scarlett and Rufus aren’t in the honeymoon stage anymore so much as the honey-should-we-bother phase. Desperate to get their sparkle back, Scarlett has plotted, planned and waxed more than any woman should have to, but none of it is working. Which makes it very hard to start the family they want.
At least her business is going strong, even if her marriage isn’t. She and her best friend spend their days tangled up in dog leads and covered in fur. Scarlett/ is the fairy dogmother, training hopeless pets like compulsive eater Barkley, impulsive Romeo Murphy and bossy Biscuit. Meanwhile, her best friend walks the dogs and pines for the man who doesn’t know she exists. Thank goodness the women have each other.
If only Scarlett could work out how to get her marriage back on track. But Rufus isn’t sharing his feelings with her. He is, though, sharing with her best friend. Her best friend, Shannon.
About The Author
Michele writes books packed with heart and humour, best friends and girl power. Call them beach books, summer reads, romantic comedy or chick lit… readers and reviewers call them “feel good”, “thought-provoking” and “laugh out loud”. She is both a Sunday Times and a USA Today bestselling author, raised in the US and living in London with her husband. She is very fond of naps, ice cream and Richard Curtis films.
Michele also writes cosy chick lit under the pen-name Lilly Bartlett. Lilly’s books are full of warmth, romance, quirky characters and guaranteed happily-ever-afters.
If you want to connect with me on Facebook or through my newsletter then you can get involved in my next cover choices!
Hello my lovelies and a belated Happy Valentines Day, Yes I know I am a day late – as per usual. But one thing led to another and before I knew it my well laid out plan to do a full day of Valentines Theme post’s ended up being just the one – which took me so long to write.
Note to self; when writing a post where I need to do a wee bit of research, do it the day before!
I did promise a whole bunch of Romantic/Valentine posts and I am not one to go back on my word, so here is the second Valentines post. I am going to be sharing my favourite romantic couples from both books and film/tv, to start off lets have a look at a few of my favouite romantic couples from books.
Heathcliffe & Cathy
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Jack & Robert
The Captain and The Cavalry Trooper (Captivating Captains #1) by Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead
Jean & Joanna
Echo In The Wind (Donet Trilogy #2) by Regan Walker
Jamie & Cassie
A Warriner To Rescue her (Wild Warriners #2) by Virginia Heath
Drake & Emily
My Ruthless Prince (The Inferno Club #4) by Gaelen Foley
Aelfhild & Guy
Beguiled By The Forbidden Knight by Elisabeth Hobbes
Helen & Rhys
Marrying Winterbourne (The Ravenels #2 ) by Lisa Kleypas
Silence & Mickey
Scandalous Desires (Maiden Lane #3) by Elizabeth Hoyt
Aren’t they brilliant? Even though, there are hundreds more that I could have added, these are a few of my all out favourite romances. And here is a collection of my favourite romances from TV and Film.
Jack & Melanie
One Fine Day
Anna & Declan
John & Margaret
North and South
Claire & Jamie
Evie & Rick
Helena & Alejandro
Mask of Zorro
Cecelia & Robbie
As with the book’s, there are so many couples that I adore from TV and Films, but I just don’t have the time or room on the post. I would love to hear about your favourite romance, is it from a book or from TV?
Cadenza by Stella Riley (@RileyStella) #BlogTour #Historical #Saga #RockliffeSeries #HistoricalFiction #BlogTour #HFVBTBlogTours #Giveaway via @hfvbt
I have the great pleasure to be hosting Stella Riley’s Blog Tour for her latest novel, Cadenza.
I haven’t read any of Ms Riley’s books yet, but I have heard so many great things about her work . You can read all about her new book; Cadenza below, plus there is a chance to enter our giveaway! Are you ready to meet the Rockliffes?
Cadenza by Stella Riley
Publication Date: November 22, 2018
eBook; 380 Pages
Genre: Historical Romance
The performance finished in a flourish of technical brilliance and the young man rose from the harpsichord to a storm of applause.
Julian Langham was poised on the brink of a dazzling career when the lawyers lured him into making a catastrophic mistake. Now, instead of the concert platform, he has a title he doesn’t want, an estate verging on bankruptcy … and bewildering responsibilities for which he is totally unfitted.
And yet the wreckage of Julian’s life is not a completely ill wind. For Tom, Rob and Ellie it brings something that is almost a miracle … if they dare believe in it.
Meanwhile, first-cousins Arabella Brandon and Elizabeth Marsden embark on a daring escapade which will provide each of them with a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The adventure will last only a few weeks, after which everything will be the way it was before. Or so they think. What neither of them expects is for it to change a number of lives … most notably, their own.
And there is an additional complication of which they are wholly unaware.
The famed omniscience of the Duke of Rockliffe.
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Smashwords
About the Author
Readers’ Favorite award-winning author and B.R.A.G. Medallion honoree Stella Riley trained as a teacher in London and now lives in Kent. She enjoys Amateur Dramatics, dancing, reading and travel. She is fascinated by the English Civil Wars and has written six books set in that period. She loves the extravagant fashions of the mid-Georgian period, likes men with long hair and her current passion is for Baroque harpsichord music.
The first 5 books of the Rockliffe series (recommended in The Times newspaper!) are also available in audio, narrated by Alex Wyndham. And Rockliffe Book Six – CADENZA – is currently available for pre-order and will be released on November 22nd.
Blog Tour Schedule
Make sure you keep following this great blog tour as there are some great blog stops.
Sunday, November 25
Excerpt at Old Timey Books
Monday, November 26
Feature at Donna’s Book Blog
Tuesday, November 27
Excerpt at Maiden of the Pages
Thursday, November 29
Excerpt at Among the Reads
Monday, December 3
Guest Post at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals
Monday, December 17
Review at Coffee and Ink
Tuesday, December 18
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews
Wednesday, December 19
Interview at Passages to the Past
During the Blog Tour we will be giving away eBooks from Stella Riley’s Rockliffe series – The Parfit Knight, The Mésalliance, The Player, The Wicked Cousin, or Hazard! 5 eBooks are up for grabs!
To enter, click on the ‘Cadenza’ link below to be taken to the gleam form.
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on December 19th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.