Review: Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith

34373364Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Published: Macmillan
Pages: 320
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★.5

When you write about someone winning the lottery, there are certain places that your mind goes. The winner spends frivolously on a yacht and a robot butler, runs into trouble with credit card companies, and after losing a significant chunk of cash, realises that they should channel their inner Ellen and pay it forward to the deserving public.

That’s pretty much what happens to Teddy. ‘Windfall’ does nothing new with the plot of rags to riches. More dramatic things could have happened in regards to his big spends, but in the end, it works out fine for him. He’s got tons of cash. The end.

Continue reading “Review: Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith”

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Review: One Italian Summer by Keris Stainton

31322309One Italian Summer by Keris Stainton
Genre: 
Contemporary
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Pages: 288
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★★

As the last weekend in the UK was obscenely hot by normal standards, my mind instantly gravitates towards ice-cream, sunglasses and contemporary romances. One Italian Summer gave me that the exam-free vibe (that’s still out of reach for another month, *crycry*) and made me crave a European holiday. (Soon, soon!)

Keris Stainton’s last YA release, Counting Stars really impressed me for it’s representation of teenage life, and I felt One Italian Summer had the same strengths, which was a really good sign. Continue reading “Review: One Italian Summer by Keris Stainton”

Review: And Then We Ran by Katy Cannon

33985636And Then We Ran by Katy Cannon
Genre: 
Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Stripes Books
Pages: 352
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★★★

Maddie really loved Katy Cannon’s previous two books (Love, Lies, and Lemon Pies and Secrets, Schemes, and Sewing Machines) so obviously we were ecstatic to get our hands on her most recently release. We were also lucky enough to get to attend Stipes’ ‘Show YA Stipes’ showcase, and Katy was there talking about And Then We Ran, making it sound so exciting and different. It’s also not often that you read a British road-trip novel, and while it wasn’t from one coast to another, it was full of fun characters and crazy adventures.

Continue reading “Review: And Then We Ran by Katy Cannon”

Review: Stargazing for Beginnings by Jenny McLachlan

32021893Stargazing for Beginnings by Jenny McLachlan
Genre: 
Contemporary
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 256
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★★★
Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

As soon as I saw this book, it caught my eye, I’m a sucker for stars and anything space-based. As soon as I read the synopsis, I knew it was a book I’d have to read immediately, dropping all responsibilities to be truly absorbed by a book.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a contemporary like this. My first instinct is to compare it to the writing of Holly Smale and the characters of Katy Cannon (AKA the recipe for Maddie’s Perfect Book.) I was even more delighted that, by the end, I could add YA Cathy Cassidy book to my list of comparisons. Stargazing for Beginners was perfectly made, and here’s how I think it was done! Continue reading “Review: Stargazing for Beginnings by Jenny McLachlan”

My Top 5 Historical Couples by Sophia Bennett, author of Following Ophelia

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Hey everyone! Something very exciting for today’s post – Sophia Bennett joins us for the penultimate stop on the Following Ophelia blog tour to talk about her favourite historical couples. Romance was one of the strongest elements of the book, so we can’t wait to hear what inspired Sophia for Ophelia’s love story.

(Check out the banner on our blog to find out where Sophia’s stopping next!)


Thanks for having me, Bee and Maddie, and thank you for your review of Following Ophelia. I loved it!

It wasn’t until my seventh book, Love Song, that I wrote a proper romance. I’m interested in girls who make things or do things and they never (not even in the romance) rely on a lover to sort their lives out. But there is something wonderful about love.

I’m lucky that I ended up with my soulmate – someone I trust absolutely, and who makes me laugh every day. He also put up a light for me yesterday, but knows that I could perfectly well have put it up myself, if I didn’t happen to be gardening. He is awesome. It took a while to meet him though. We didn’t marry until I was thirty-nine.

Before that, I experienced all the ups and downs of love. I want my readers to feel the heady thrill of lust, the joy of feeling a connection – but I don’t want them to think that automatically means ‘happy ever after’. It’s usually just the start of a roller-coaster, so I wanted Mary’s experience in Following Ophelia to follow mine a little bit. She’s only just started on the journey of love. I have more to write, and she has further to travel.

It’s been fun setting her story in the 1850s, with all the complications of class, money and sex the Victorians experienced. Here are some of my favourite couples from history and legend, whom I got to know while researching various books. It’s not always easy being in love.

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  1. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert – from Following Ophelia. I’ve always loved the strong connection between Victoria and Albert. Albert is underrated, I think. He was highly intelligent, curious, and passionately supported the arts. We have his energy and support to thank for the V&A Museum, for example.

    Victoria became boring and distant after he died, but she was quite different while he was alive. (Check out Daisy Goodwin’s fantastic TV series about them if you haven’t already seen it.) If only he’d lasted longer than 1861 …

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  2. Persephone and Demeter – from Following Ophelia. I had to research this Greek legend for the book, as Mary takes on the name and inspiration of Persephone. She was a daughter of Zeus and Demeter, stolen by Hades and taken to the Underworld.

    Demeter, the goddess of the Harvest, desperately searched the world for her missing daughter. Eventually, she found her and begged for her return. But there was a catch, involving 7 pomegranate seeds … It’s a tragic story, driven by a mother’s love. I won’t spoil it if you don’t know it, but there’s nothing like a Greek legend for drama. And isn’t this statue of mother and daughter unusual and beautiful?

    Bowie.jpg

  3. David Bowie and Iman – from Love Song. It can’t be denied: they look incredible together. This could have gone so wrong, the pop star and the supermodel, but as she said, she married David Jones, not David Bowie.

    They kept their relationship fairly quiet – no big Hello spreads – but I never saw them look anything less than deeply in love. He always seems so utterly entranced by her company.

    It might seem odd to have them as a historical couple, but when David died last year it felt as though a special period of history had come to an end. RIP David. We still miss you.

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  4. Sah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal – from Beads. He loved her so much he built the Taj Mahal as her monument. That says it all, really.

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  5. Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé – from Threads. Researching fashion designers as I did for the Threads series, I became fascinated that so many of them – almost all, in fact – had a brilliant business manager by their side, who was often their lover too.

    It takes a combination of creative flair, passion and cold business sense to make a fashion house work, and very few individuals have that in one package. Yves needed Pierre, and Pierre needed him. They were so lucky to find each other. If you’re a creative person, it really helps to fall in love with someone who appreciates and supports what you do!


After getting all flustered by how adorable all these couples are, you’re probably dying to read Following Ophelia, right? Check out our reviewFollowing Ophelia‘s Goodreads and find Sophia Bennett on Twitter!

Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertali

32596757The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertali
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 300
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★★★

Simon Versus the Homo Sapiens Agenda was one of my favourite books of 2015! We recommended it in our Romances for Valentine’s day video because it’s light-hearted and cute, so when I got the chance to read Becky Albertali’s next book, of course, I leapt at the chance!

This was also one of my most anticipated releases of this year, and I think a lot of people are going to be using it as their choice for ‘under represented body type’ in the Diversity Bingo!

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Review: Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley

30525432Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley
Genre:
Contemporary, LGBT
Publisher: HQ
Pages: 384
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★

I don’t even know how to put into words how disappointed I am with this one. It just…fell flat. The setting did nothing to enhance the story (and was void of any kind of adult supervision, which was unrealistic for the type of trip they’re on), the social activist thread came way too late in the story for me to be convinced it was Aki’s passion, her hidden backstory with the music school was over emphasised and came to nothing, there was so much unnecessary drama based on lying about stupid things.

Continue reading “Review: Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley”

Review: The Witch’s Tears by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr

30796767The Witch’s Tears by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr
Genre: 
Fairy tale, Fantasy
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 320
Format: ARC e-b00k
Rating: ★★★★
Note: We received this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. 

After loving The Witch’s Kissand getting to meet the Corr sisters, the sequel was something I was dying to get my hands on, and I’m happy to report that I loved it just as much as the first book! While the fairy tale theme that drew me to the first book isn’t as prominent, there are lots of things that bubble to the surface in its absence and I really loved. Please tell me there’s a third book coming?

Continue reading “Review: The Witch’s Tears by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr”

Review: The Cahill Witch Chronicles by Jessica Spotswood

Born Wicked, Star Cursed, Sisters’ Fate by Jessica Spotswood
Genre: Supernatural (Witches), Romance. Sisters = buzzword
Published by: Speak. Pages: 352, 384, 368 respectively
Rating: ★★★★

This series has quickly become one of my absolute favourites. It’s the story of three sisters who are all witches in a society where if you’re rumoured to be a witch you’re either imprisoned or hanged. There’s also a prophecy that claims one of the sisters will either be the undoing of witches or will help them rise. I loved the drama and the the way every single relationship is written! For a series that was recommended to me by a friend in my Lit class almost four years ago, I’m surprised I didn’t pick it up sooner, because it’s really not one to be missed!

(Warning: As I’m going to be discussing all three books in one post, you might find the reviews of books 2 and 3 spoiler-y since I’ll be noting how the plot progresses.)

Continue reading “Review: The Cahill Witch Chronicles by Jessica Spotswood”

Review: The Best Possible Answer by E. Katherine Kottaras

cover93050-mediumThe Best Possible Answer by E. Katherine Kottaras
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Published by: St. Martin’s Griffin
Pages: 272
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★★
Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Academic overachiever Viviana has a panic attack that puts her in the hospital after the nudes she sent to her now ex-boyfriend completely destroy her life. As she tries to pick up the pieces, she gets a job at her apartment building’s pool and meeting a new group of friends who will help get her through. This sounds amazing, right? I was really pumped for this contemporary, I was all set to read it over the summer, but then life got in the way and I didn’t start until October and had to put it down for almost month before I finished. But I did. I eventually came back to it and realized why I might have put this down in this first place.

Continue reading “Review: The Best Possible Answer by E. Katherine Kottaras”