BOOK REVIEW: My Everything by Katie Marsh

What would you do if the husband you're about to leave has a stroke?

In Katie Marsh's new novel, My Everything, Hannah is faced with that very question. The day before Tom suffers from a stroke, Hannah has made her decision to leave him. After five and a half years of marriage; of seeing the worst of Tom, of living in fear of his anger and disappointment on an almost daily basis, Hannah has finally made up her mind to move on with her life. However, one night is about to change it all.

With her husband in hospital, life has dramatically changed for teacher Hannah. The plans she had made now seem unreachable, in return replaced with a future of caring for Tom - who is only thirty-two - a man she has seemingly grown apart from. A fact practically proved by Hannah's recent one night stand with infatuated colleague Raj, a secret that Tom has no idea about.

Now, Hannah can't leave. She can't run away - not when Tom has to face so much rehabilitation and recovery.

Having to be there for her husband makes Hannah consider her options, and of course, the past. What made Tom change from the handsome, fun student she once knew into someone so disconnected? Could she leave him now? Has her life changed forever?

Meanwhile, Tom is also faced with the reality of his future, and the love for his wife that has seemingly become non-existent. Being unable to walk or carry out the simplest of daily tasks, let alone work, is almost unbearable for successful Tom, and he too begins to question just went wrong between them.

My Everything is a wonderful novel. It's thought-provoking, moving, beautifully written and thoroughly addictive, and what's more, this is Katie's debut. This is not only a book that's impossible to put down, but it's also a book that really makes you think about life and the choices you make. Can lost love be salvaged, or is it gone for good? It really made me contemplate what I would have done in Hannah's situation, and it's truly difficult to put oneself in her place.

Throughout the book were chapters focusing on memories from Tom and Hannah's past; tickets and trinkets which slowly told the story of their relationship, which is something I loved about this book.
Katie Marsh is a highly talented writer and I'm already looking forward to her future novels.

Rating: 5/5

FESTIVE READS: Wish Upon a Christmas Cake by Darcie Boleyn

Darcie Boleyn's new novel, Wish Upon a Christmas Cake, was released earlier this month by UKCarina, and follows Katie, who has an unexpected Christmas visit that could change her life...

The most wonderful time of the year?

Katie Warham has just one wish this year…to have the best Christmas ever!

If only she could lock herself away in a cloud of flour and sugar at her cosy little tearoom, Crumbtious Cakes, instead of spending the festive season trapped with her judgemental mother, crazy Aunt Gina and loved-up celebrity brother Carl...

But Katie never expected her ex-boyfriend, widower Sam – and his two adorable children – to turn up on her doorstep. She didn’t think that any man could tempt her under the mistletoe this year, but Sam might just prove the exception! And as the snow begins to fall and Katie puts the final touches to her famous Christmas cake, she begins to wonder, could her Christmas wish actually come true?

BOOK NEWS: The Assistants by Camille Perri

Finding out about next year's releases is exciting, especially when new books by debut authors are on the list. The Assistants is the first novel of Camille Perri, in which a bored executive assistant is faced with the opportunity to solve her financial problems - even if it does mean stealing from her boss. The Assistants is due to be published in May 2016.

Tina Fontana is the hapless but brazen thirty-year-old executive assistant to Robert Barlow, the all-powerful and commanding CEO of Titan Corp., a multinational media conglomerate. She’s excellent at her job and beloved by her famous boss—but after six years of making his reservations for restaurants she’d never get into on her own and pouring his drinks from bottles that cost more than her rent, she’s bored, broke, and just a bit over it all.

When a technical error with Robert’s travel-and-expenses report presents Tina with the opportunity to pay off the entire balance of her student loan debt with what would essentially be pocket change for her boss, she struggles with the decision: She’s always played by the rules. But it’s such a relatively small amount of money for the Titan Corporation—and for her it would be a life-changer...

The Assistants speaks directly to a new generation of women who feel stuck and unable to get ahead playing by the rules. It will appeal to all of those who have ever asked themselves, “How is it that after all these years, we are still assistants?”

BOOK REVIEW: The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Lisa Dickenson

I've been a fan of Lisa Dickenson since reading You Had Me at Merlot. Her summer novel, Catch Me if You Cannes, was an excellent read, so naturally, I was excited to receive a copy of Lisa's Christmas tale, The Twelve Dates of Christmas.

Readers of Lisa Dickenson's books may already be aware that Twelve Dates was previously released as a six-part series, though the complete novel has now been published by Sphere (with a gorgeous cover to boot!) And if you're looking for a feel-good, romantic tale with a festive theme, then here's your book.

When Claudia's long-awaited 'date night' with boyfriend Seth goes horribly wrong, she soon finds herself single and about to face Christmas on her own - not exactly a predicament that thirty-year-old Claudia is particularly keen on.  But after a chance meeting with a hot barista in a coffee shop (whilst trying to get over the Seth fiasco!), Claudia finds herself determined not to let her lost love get to her, and so decides to try dating. A Christmas full of dates - what could go wrong?

In fact, quite a few things can. And granted, some of those dates aren't exactly planned. Claudia's Christmas seems to be filling up with nice surprises, along with interesting date experiences.

Together with her best friends, ballerina Penny and the lovely Nick, Claudia's twelve dates are proving to be working when it comes to changing her life, even if some of them aren't exactly pleasant! It's going to be a Christmas that Claudia certainly won't forget.

The Twelve Dates of Christmas is full of comedic moments (trying not to spoil anything here, but I loved the underwear chapter!) but also full of heart and Christmas magic. It's a genuinely lovely festive tale of looking for something that you don't quite realise is there all along. My only complaint? It was rather predictable, and I had guessed how the book would end very early on. However, the story itself, along with the comedy and Lisa's charm, far outweigh this, and so if you want a feel-good tale to add some sparkle to a wintry night, The Twelve Dates of Christmas is absolutely perfect.

Rating: 5/5

FESTIVE READS: UKCarina launches Christmas Collection

Digital imprint UKCarina (who publish romance authors such as Samantha Tonge, Lynsey James and Jenny Oliver, are to release a collection of Christmas stories. Christmas Wish Come True will feature three romantic stories from Gina Rochelle, Misty Shaw and Jaimie Admans, and will be released on December 4.

All I Want for Christmas by Gina Rochelle
Ditching her faithless fiancĂ©, schoolteacher  Isabella  plans to spend the holidays alone. But when she unintentionally inspires a young pupil to make an impossible wish, she joins forces with his – totally gorgeous – uncle to put things right! Could two wishes could come true this Christmas?

Dreaming of a White Wedding by Misty Shaw
When  Scarlet  discovered her husband-to-be in bed with her bridesmaid, she called off her Valentine’s wedding and ran away to London. But when her sister asks for her help, she can’t refuse…even if it means coming face-to-face with her ex – the man she never stopped loving!

Christmas Every Day by Jaimie Admans
Emma  loves bumping into Gorgeous Dog Walker, Nick, every evening. But when he ends up in a coma (partly her fault), she ends up taking care of ‘his job’…and his dog! Emma stopped believing in Santa years ago, but this Christmas her world is about to be turned upside-down!

IN THE MAIL: A Merry Mistletoe Christmas by Judy Astley

Now that the nights have started to get darker and colder, the selection of festive reads so far has been rather welcoming! And today a new addition to the Christmas reading pile arrived - A Merry Mistletoe Wedding by Judy Astley. (The cover is beautiful!) In Judy's new novel, Sean and Thea are planning a small Christmas Day wedding, but will things actually go to plan?

It is almost a year since Sean and Thea met and it's been a roller-coaster ride: they're getting married on Christmas Day! Neither Thea or Sean want a big fuss - a simple wedding, with Christmas lights and just a few sprigs of mistletoe for decoration is all they need. But before they know it, things begin to get complicated. Trying to manage a long-distance relationship in the build-up to their Christmas wedding is one thing, but as one challenge after another comes their way, the happy couple begin to wonder if they'll ever make it down the aisle...

BOOK NEWS: The Winter Children by Lulu Taylor

Lulu Taylor, author of The Snow Angel and The Winter Folly, returns with new novel The Winter Children, which is due for release in December.

Behind a selfless act of kindness lies dark intentions...

Olivia and Dan Felbeck are blissfully happy when their longed-for twins arrive after years of IVF. At the same time, they make the move to Renniston Hall, a huge, Elizabethan house that belongs to absent friends. Living rent-free in a small part of the unmodernised house, once a boarding school, they can begin to enjoy the family life they've always wanted. But there is a secret at the heart of their family, one that Olivia does not yet know. And the house, too, holds its darkness deep within it...

BOOK REVIEW: Christmas at Cranberry Cottage by Talli Roland

Having been a fan of Talli Roland since her very first novel, it’s always a treat to read her latest offering. I’ve always enjoyed her books (including Build a Man, Watching Willow Watts and The Hating Game) and novellas. Christmas at Cranberry Cottage is no exception.

When photographer Jess Millward hears of plans for a railway company to tear down her family home, she leaves her busy life in New York behind and rushes back to her quiet village. Despite her loving grandmother seeming fond of the idea to sell up and move into a nearby care home, Jess is intent on her mission to save Cranberry Cottage, the home which she grew up in. With Christmas approaching and only a short time before the new railway is built through the village, Jess sets out in her plight to persuade the railway company – which includes Tom, Jess's handsome childhood crush – to cease its plans.

Despite Christmas at Cranberry Cottage being quite a short read, I enjoyed every page. Talli conveys great characters and setting in such a short time and in turn has created a heartwarming, festive read. Jess was a very likable character and truthfully? I think this story would have also worked well as a full-length novel. As Jess spends her time working to try and put things right, the reality can often be that certain things simply don't need fixing.

This is the perfect story to curl up with on a cold night. And if you've already read and enjoyed Christmas at Cranberry Cottage, check out Talli Roland's other Christmas novellas: Mistletoe in Manhattan, Last Christmas, Married by Midnight and Miracle at the Museum of Broken Hearts.

Rating: 5/5

NEW RELEASES: Landfalls by Naomi J Williams

Landfalls is the new novel from Naomi J Williams. The story of one epic voyage, Landfalls takes the reader through Tenerife, Chile, Alaska, Russia and Australia. As well as being an exciting new release, Landfalls is also Naomi's debut novel, and is due for release on October 22nd.

An epic voyage, undertaken with the grandest of ambitions. When Laperouse leaves France in the Spring of 1785 with two ships under his command, he knows that he sails with the full backing of the French government. This is to be a voyage of scientific and geographical discovery - but every person on board has their own hopes, ambitions and dreams. As the ships move across vast distances in their journey of nearly four years, the different characters step forward and invite us into their world. From the remote Alaskan bay where a dreadful tragedy unfolds, to the wild journey Barthelemy de Lessups undertakes from the far east of Russia to St Petersburg, the reader sees the emotional, physical and mental toll exacted by such an endeavour. Landfalls marks the launch of a brilliant new writer, who creates an unforgettable world through a web of voices and narratives. 

EVENT: An evening at Orion Books with Cathy Kelly and Fanny Blake

Last week, I was invited to join two fantastic authors – Cathy Kelly and Fanny Blake – at a blogger event in London to celebrate the launch of Cathy's newly-released novel, Between Sisters. With Fanny's latest book, House of Dreams, published on November 5th, it was going to be one exciting evening, so I headed to the capital to join Cathy, Fanny, the lovely ladies from Orion and fellow book bloggers at Orion's fab new offices. (With a gorgeous view!)

After delicious wine and nibbles and gazing at not only the wonderful view but all of the glorious books on show, Cathy and Fanny sat down to talk more about Between Sisters. Granted, not only was it wonderful to meet these ladies - both brilliant authors that I admire - but also, it was intriguing to hear them talk about writing and answer our questions. As a writer too (and let's face it, I'm nosey), it's always interesting to hear how well-known, published authors approach the writing process.

Between Sisters tells the story of two siblings, Cassie and Coco, and their rather different lives. Having found out more about the characters at the event, I'm now extremely excited to read this novel. I was delighted to get a copy of this book (the cover is stunning) along with House of Dreams, and The Christmas We Met by Kate Lord Brown.

Between Sisters by Cathy Kelly
Meet the women of Delaney Square ...

Cassie has spent her married life doing everything right - making sure her children have the perfect life, being a devoted wife and a dutiful daughter-in-law. Although it's left her so exhausted that 'wine o'clock' comes a little earlier each afternoon...

Her sister Coco runs a vintage dress shop and has shied away from commitment over the years. Coco believes men complicate things, and she's got enough to contend with. Until a face from her past returns. Watching over them is grandmother Pearl, tucked away in her little house in Delaney Square. 

But something is keeping her awake at night. Was she right to do what she did all those years ago? 
And then there's Elsa, the polished face of daytime TV, who's battled demons of her own in the past and come out on top. Now Elsa faces one final fight - but it will require more bravery than anything which has come before. 

House of Dreams by Fanny Blake
In the hilltop villa with its spectacular views across rolling countryside to the straits of Gibraltar, Lucy anxiously awaits the arrival of her brother and sister. They're spending the weekend together to say farewell to Casa de Suenos, the house in the mountains of southern Spain where they grew up. 

Her sister, Jo, landing at the airport with her fractious four year old, dreads the prospect of this time with her family, fulfilling their mother's last instructions that they celebrate her birthday party together - only this time their mother won't be there. Tom, their brother, is filled with dread, remembering only the chaos of his bohemian upbringing and wanting nothing more than for their stay to go without a hitch. 

Then a beautiful face from his past appears at the villa...

Over one long, hot week weekend, past secrets will spill out, making the siblings question themselves, the choices they've made and where their future lies in this gorgeous new novel from Fanny Blake. 

UNCOVERED PICKS: Five Festive Reads (part one!)

The holiday season is fast approaching, and there have already been quite a lot of new Christmas-themed releases in chick-lit, so much so that it's been difficult to pick just five! So, here is part one of Uncovered's selection of festive reads.

The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Lisa Dickenson
At thirty, Claudia's life is stale and the romance with long-term boyfriend, Seth, has disappeared. Determined to inject some festive spark back into their love life, Claudia and Seth go on their first date in a very long time. But when the night ends in disaster, Claudia suddenly finds herself facing life - and Christmas - alone.

Life alone is exciting, scary and full of soon-forgotten exercise regimes and ill-advised attempts at crafting sexy underwear. It's also filling up with dates, surprisingly. With best friends Penny and Nick at her side, a surplus of festive markets, mulled wine and Christmas tunes, Claudia attempts to face all this change with gusto. One thing's for certain: this year, Christmas is going to be very different...

The Chocolate Lovers' Christmas by Carole Matthews
Christmas is just around the corner but the women of The Chocolate Lovers' Club have more to worry about than present shopping ...

Lucy loves running Chocolate Heaven but she hasn't spent time with her boyfriend, Aiden, in weeks. And then her ex-fiance turns up and things become even more complicated. 

Nadia hasn't let herself get close to a man in a long time, yet she can't help feeling drawn to Jacob. Will he be her last chance for a happy ending? Chantal and her husband, Ted, are besotted with their baby daughter Lana - but she's not sure that's enough to base a marriage on. 

Autumn is dealing with a tragedy that has hit too close to home. But when she doesn't get the support she needs from her fiance, will she look elsewhere for comfort? Can friendship overcome all in The Chocolate Lovers' Christmas?

Christmas at Cranberry Cottage by Talli Roland
Home is where the heart is...

With a whirlwind lifestyle travelling the world, the one thing Jess Millward relies on is Christmas with her gran in cosy Cranberry Cottage. When her grandmother reveals the house is directly in the path of a new high-speed railway, Jess is determined to fight.

Can Jess save the cottage from demolition, or will she have no home to come to this Christmas?

Bella's Christmas Bake Off by Sue Watson
Bella Bradley is the queen of television baking – a national treasure. Her Christmas specials have been topping the ratings for years and her marriage to Peter ‘Silver Fox’ Bradley is the stuff of Hello magazine specials. 

But this year things are going to be different. 

For Amy Lane, Bella’s best friend from school, life hasn’t held quite the same sparkle. And when Amy’s husband walks out three weeks from Christmas, it seems their lives are further apart than ever. 

Amy has watched Bella’s rise to fame fondly, despite the fact Bella was always a terrible cook. But when she realises that Bella’s latest Christmas book is made up entirely of Amy’s mother’s recipes, the gloves are off… 

After winning a competition to appear on Bella’s TV show, Amy is going to make sure that for Bella and her viewers, this will definitely be a Christmas to remember… 

One Wish in Manhattan by Mandy Baggot
The temperature is dropping, snow is on its way and Hayley Walker is heading for New York with one wish…to start over. 

With her daughter Angel, Hayley is ready for adventure. But there’s more to New York than twinkly lights and breathtaking skyscrapers. Angel has her own Christmas wish – to find her real dad.

While Hayley tries to fulfil her daughter’s wish, she crosses paths with billionaire Oliver Drummond. Restless and bored with fast living, there’s something intriguing about him that has Hayley hooked. 
Can Hayley dare to think her own dreams might come true – could A New York Christmas turn into a New York Forever? 

Travel to the Big Apple this Christmas and join Hayley and Oliver as they realise life isn’t just about filling the minutes…it’s about making every moment count. 

COMING SOON: Shopaholic to the Rescue by Sophie Kinsella

Becky Brandon (formerly Bloomwood), will be returning later this month for another adventure in Sophie Kinsella's next Shopaholic installment, Shopaholic to the Rescue. This time, Becky heads to Vegas in search of her dad, but this is Becky Bloomwood, so more shenanigans are guaranteed...

Becky Brandon (nee Bloomwood) is on a major rescue mission! Hollywood was full of surprises, and now she's on a road trip to Las Vegas to help her friends and family. She's determined to get to the bottom of why her dad has mysteriously disappeared, help her best friend Suze and even bond with long-time enemy Alicia Bitch Long-legs (maybe...). As Becky discovers just how much her friends and family need help, she comes up with her biggest, boldest, most brilliant plan yet! So can she save the day just when they need her most? 

Becky is setting out to make things right in this laugh-out-loud, feel-good conclusion to her American adventure that began with Shopaholic To The Stars. 

Happy October!

Chick Lit Uncovered is happy to be back after a short break (working on a novel and of course,  reading!). Better still, it's also a new season, which means the perfect opportunity to snuggle up with a hot drink and a good book as often as possible. Bring on the cold nights!

There are already plenty of festive novels on the to-be-read list, not to mention some new releases in contemporary women's fiction that will be heading our way in the coming months. So look out for plenty of news and reviews!