#Review – Laura Lake and the Hipster Weddings by Wendy Holden (@Wendy_Holden) @HoZ_Books

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First in a laugh-out-loud new series that fans of The Devil Wears Prada, Bridget Jones and Sophie Kinsella will love!

She’ll need a triple-barrelled name for the castle one.
She’ll need a gallon of glitter for the woodland one.
She’ll need a lobster-shaped hat for the Shoreditch one.

Laura Lake longs to be a journalist. Instead she’s an unpaid intern at a glossy magazine – sleeping in the fashion cupboard and living on canapés. But she’s just got her first big break: infiltrate three society weddings and write a juicy exposé.

Security will be tighter than a bodycon dress, but how hard can it be? Cue disappearing brides, demanding socialites – and a jealous office enemy who will do anything to bring her down…

What does TWG think?

Have you ever finished watching ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ and thought to yourself; ‘oh I WISH the producers did a re-boot of this film or created something just as brilliant!’? Does that sound familiar? After all, EVERYONE loves ‘The Devil Wears Prada’. Never fear though…

WENDY HOLDEN IS HERE WITH LAURA LAKE!!!

Oh em geeeeee, SQUEAL!!! As soon as I saw the cover of this novel, I just knew I had to get my mitts on a copy. As soon as I began reading this novel, I knew straight away that my phone would no longer be looked at, my t.v would turn itself off because I’ve left it on its own AND my cup of tea would go stone cold. Why? Errrrrr because I wasn’t lifting my head up or diverting my attention from THIS book unless it was a life or death situation….or I needed to pee. Same thing though, right?

Laura Lake’s lifelong dream is to become a journalist, rubbing shoulders with oh-so-fabulous celebrities; but instead she is in Paris, taking part in an art installation thingy-me-jig with a stranger named, Caspar. Oh the things you do when you need extra cash! Laura soon realises that journalism opportunities are few and far between in Paris, and that London is clearly the way to go. However, there’s one slight problem, Laura doesn’t want to leave her extravagant grandmother, Mimi. You only live once, right?

I LOVE Mimi! She is extravagance at its finest and she could totally give everyone a lesson in LIVING. As for Laura Lake herself, well, can I PURLEASEEEE have her as my new BFF?! She is absolutely HILARIOUS! What I found even more funny was how her antics were considered to be ‘the norm’ for her personality, yet to us ‘boring’ outsiders, she appeared to be absolutely bonkers. I mean, seriously, she had nowhere to live so set up camp in the fashion cupboard?! Brilliant idea nonetheless but still! I could just imagine her lying there, getting up for work the next morning and just saunter into the office flicking her hair, acting like she had started work hours before anyone else. Well, technically she did…I think?

I actually don’t think I stopped laughing whilst reading about Laura’s antics. The fact she came face to face with an enemy from her past, was somewhat predictable yet I couldn’t wait for the sparks to fly. It was clear that Wendy Holden wasn’t going to bypass the opportunity to allow her characters to get their claws out and play dirty, and what a genius addition to the storyline.

There was SO much happening in this book yet I didn’t find the storyline too busy or hard to follow. In fact it flowed really well; there was enough grit, fireworks, humour and controversial situations to keep me going until dinner time!

Wendy Holden has written my kind of book to an absolute T. It has humour. It has flirting. It has weird and wonderful characters with incredibly large personalities, and AWESOME names. It has ‘bonkers’ written right through the storyline like a stick of rock. It is absolutely fantastic.

I read Laura Lake and the Hipster Weddings one night when I needed to laugh like I’ve never laughed before, to escape from my daily hell for longer than ten minutes, be transported to a place where only ‘bonkers’ and ‘bizarre live’; Wendy Holden’s novel did that for me. I cannot recommend this book enough and I REALLY want the next book, er, now please? Thank you very much!

A hilarious giggle-fest from the very first page, Laura Lake and the Hipster Weddings is THE book to read and enjoy without even hiding it as a ‘guilty pleasure’.
Pleasure? Yes. Guilty? Hell no!!
Fantastic.

Thank you Head of Zeus!!

Buy now from Amazon UK

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Blog tour Review! Christmas at The Dog and Duck by Jill Steeples (@jillesteeples)@Aria_Fiction

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Blurb.

Ellie Browne has left behind her high-flying job in London to return to the charming Buckinghamshire village of Little Leyton. Working shifts at The Dog and Duck and running her own doggy-day-care business, Ellie’s looking for a much simpler way of life and a good old fashioned Christmas.

But Little Leyton’s landscape is changing; Johnny Tay, Ellie’s ex, wants to pick up where they left off; sultry property developer Max Golding, has moved into the village and is ruffling feathers; and rumour has it that the pub, which holds a special place in Ellie’s heart, might be sold. Suddenly, life’s looking a whole lot more complicated…

Can Ellie juggle her emotions and commitments in time to celebrate Christmas?

What does TWG think?

Absolutely thrilled to be taking part in Jill Steeples’ blog tour! -does happy dance- I LOVE her books. Not only is today TWG’s stop on the tour, it is also the last day of it! -sniff-. Don’t worry, all is not lost though, if you buy the book you’ll be able to see the beautiful cover whenever you like! Win win really! I have the joy of bringing you not one, but TWO Jill Steeples delights today in the form of a review and an extract. Hope you enjoy!

Sometimes when life gets a bit too hectic and crowded, all we need to do is take a step back, breathe and focus on our next step. Sounds simple doesn’t it? Ellie seemed to find it simpler than she thought it would thanks to a few four legged friends. Ellie’s life seemed to do a U-turn as she found herself back in her hometown and back working in her local, but she doesn’t quite seem to mind. After all, a random man has seen her looking like a drowned rat with a dog, and was ever so easy on the eye! Could Ellie find her reason for staying in her hometown permanently? Or will the random man turn out to be a wolf in sheep clothing?

When it comes to Ellie and her life, the phrase ‘home is where the heart is’ seems to ring rather true. She strikes me as the type of person that seems to hide behind a mask and tries to keep her emotions bottled up. Because of that, I warmed to her straight away as I am exactly the same. Plus it made for ace reading as I tried to work out whether any decisions she made would be done via her head, or her heart.

I thought that the harrowing topic a lot of the book was based around, was rather humbling. It opened my eyes to the devastating truth which in turn made the storyline stand out. Honestly? I thought Jill was rather brave to incorporate it into her story, as it is a topic that people do have a rather harsh opinion about, especially in the media. During the shift in the storyline, I got to see another side to a few of the characters, some of which have been holding their cards rather close to their chests until then. Lovely to see.

Jill Steeples has written such a refreshing and humbling read that will grab the hearts of the readers in more way than one. A story about staying true to yourself and what you believe in, as well as never giving up without a fight. Such a cosy, inspiring read that can be read time and time again, whatever the time of year.

I received a complimentary copy of the book in return for my honest views.

Christmas at The Dog and Duck, by Jill Steeples, published by Aria is available to buy now from Amazon UK.

Extract.

Taken from Chapter 3 of Christmas at The Dog and Duck by Jill Steeples.

Oh yes, definitely handsome. From the corner of my eye, I noticed Polly
raising an eyebrow at me, her half-smile suggesting that she very much approved of my latest
customer. It was almost as if the Goddess of Dating had been eavesdropping on our
conversation and had sent down a shining ray of hope, in the form of this man, telling us to
keep the faith.
‘Oh, hello,’ he said, with a warm smile of recognition, ‘I’ll have a pint of the special,
please.’
Why were my fingers shaking all of a sudden? I pulled his pint carefully, grateful to fix
my attention on the golden nectar filling the glass, allowing me the opportunity for some
much needed pulling-myself- together time.
‘So,’ he said, after he’d taken a sip from his glass, his tongue searching out the creamy
froth left lingering around his lips, ‘how’s your dog?’
I must have seen that very manoeuvre, the tongue-licking one, performed by dozens of
men newly acquainted with their pint of beer, but suddenly it had taken on a whole new level
of meaning.
‘My dog? Ha ha, oh yes, my dog.’ What was wrong with me? Acting as though I'd never
met a good looking man before! Well, I suppose it had been a long time. ‘She’s fine. I mean,
he’s fine. Milo, you mean?’
The man shrugged and looked at me blankly. Gawd. How could he possibly be expected
to know the name of my dog? And what must he think of me? The first time we met I was
wading about in a river, soaked through, pretending everything was perfectly normal and now
I was a giddy wreck, babbling incoherently.
‘Yes, Milo’s fine,’ I said. ‘Only he’s not actually my dog. I was just looking after him.
That’s what I do for a living, you see. Well, apart from working in here. I look after dogs.
Dog-walking, dog-sitting, that kind of thing. And pouring pints of beer too.’
I was wittering on, divulging far more information than this man probably wanted to hear,
but I couldn’t help myself. I always spoke rubbish when I was nervous.
‘Look here’s my card.’ I pulled one out from my back pocket and handed it to him. He
took it and turned it over in his fingers, a bemused expression on his face.

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Book review – My Husband’s Wife by Amanda Prowse (@MrsAmandaProwse) @HoZ_Books

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Blurb.

Once a week, Rosie Tipcott counts her blessings.

She goes to sit on her favourite bench on the north Devon cliffs, and thanks her lucky stars for her wonderful husband, her mischievous young daughters, and her neat little house by the sea. She vows to dedicate every waking hour to making her family happy.

But then her husband unexpectedly leaves her for another woman and takes the children. Now she must ask the question: what is left in her life? Can Rosie find the strength to rebuild herself? More importantly, does she even want to?

What does TWG think?

We all have a special place to think or zone out, some may call it their ‘happy place’. A place to be alone with your thoughts, both positive and negative ones. For Rosie Tipcott, that ‘happy place’ is a bench, the place where she can think about those that are dear to her as well as memories she didn’t have a chance to make. Her husband and her daughters are her world. Rosie knows how to be a mum and a wife, it’s all she has ever known. Suddenly, Rosie’s ‘known’ life becomes the unknown, will Rosie find the strength to swim before she sinks, or will she always be known as ‘My Husband’s Wife?’

Before I begin, I would like to say thank you to the Prowse’s for allowing me to have an ARC in return for my honest opinion.

I have been staring at my screen for the last half an hour, trying to create a functional sentence that isn’t made up of just adjectives. It is proving to be quite tricky I must say, especially as the author of this book is THE Amanda Prowse. Reviewing Mrs Prowse is as nerve-wracking as reviewing the Queen (I can only assume!). ‘My Husband’s Wife’ put a spell on me from the first chapter; I couldn’t put it down, and I most certainly didn’t want to put it down. Rosie Tipcott has quickly turned into one of my favourite female main characters. I warmed to her loveable and enticing nature straight away as her heart is filled with so much love, it spills outside the book. Throughout her life, Rosie has felt a sense of abandonment, especially as no-one close to her was willing to fill in the gaps of her life she so desperately craved.

Reading about Rosie’s feelings of abandonment struck a chord with me, I wanted to hug her, tell her that I understood her feelings. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t let her know her feelings were justified and that made me quite sad. Just like Rosie, I feel abandoned due to events in my personal life, such an unexplainable feeling that can only be reassured by the gaps being filled. The impossible gaps.

All Rosie wants is a happy life, not much to ask is it really? As far as she is concerned, her life with her husband and two daughters is just that, unfortunately her husband disagrees. As soon as I realised what was about to happen with Rosie’s children, I held my breath, I couldn’t imagine for one second how that must feel to have your own children taken away. To watch them leave without any word of when you will see them next, rendering you absolutely useless. At that point in the book, my heart broke for Rosie and her children. Her whole life was turned upside down because her husband didn’t feel like thinking with his brain.

As you can tell, I’m sure, I like to get rather involved in storylines and characters within a book.  Previous books that I have read, I have gotten involved in,  but never have I ever gotten so involved in a storyline that I lost sight of my surroundings. ‘My Husband’s Wife’ pulled me onto the rollercoaster ride of emotions, and I couldn’t have stopped if I tried. It was just me and the book. I laughed, and I cried (a lot); all I wanted to do after I had read it was give Amanda a hug.

‘My Husband’s Wife’ took me on a journey, a journey that I have never experienced before and one that I will never, ever forget. Every single word that Amanda wrote was backed with emotion, powerful emotion that would easily knock you off your feet. Reading Amanda’s work of art didn’t feel like reading a book, it felt real. Imagine watching situations happen in front of you in your every day life, it was exactly like that.

‘My Husband’s Wife’ is a book about motherly love, loss and finding the strength to carry on, no matter what. A book that you will always carry with you in your heart to remind you that it is okay to feel emotion. It’s okay to cry, your feelings are justified. I will forever carry Amanda’s book with me in my heart and my soul, something that I never thought would be a possibility. I am in awe of the complexity of this book, yet it is relatable in so many ways. A powerful gem of a book that will fill your arms with goosebumps, and hypnotize you in ways you never could have imagined.

My Husband’s Wife by Amanda Prowse, published by Head Of Zeus, is available to buy right now from Amazon UK