Thursday, 31 May 2018

Wilde Like Me - Louise Pentland

Original Cover
My own copy

The blurb: 

Meet Robin Wilde! You'll make a friend for life and she'll take you on a journey you'll never forget ...

Single mum Robin Wilde adores her six-year-old daughter and loves her job as a make up artist's assistant. She has a wonderful best friend and an auntie who is bonkers, yes, but loves her to the moon and back. 

But Robin has a secret. Behind the mask she carefully applies every day, things just feel ... grey. And lonely. She struggles to fit in with the school mum crew. Online dating is totally despair-inducing, and she worries every day about raising her little girl with self-confidence, courage and joy.

What Robin longs for is someone (over the age of six) to share with - someone who's always on her team. 

After 4 years (2 months, and 15 days!) of single-mum-dom, it's time for Robin Wilde to Change. Her. Life. 

Exciting new opportunities are about to come Robin's way ... Perhaps a man, perhaps the chance of a lifetime ...

What will Robin do with the possibilities she creates for herself? And what potential will she unlock if she takes the leap?

My Opinion:

*Book provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

I discovered Louise on YouTube about 3 years ago, when I started following some bloggers on there. I watched her videos from time to time, especially when her daughter(s) were in them. Louise is very funny, bubbly and fresh, so when I heard she was publishing a fiction book, I got really curious. 

The story follows Robin Wilde, who is a single mum to 6-year-old Lyla and she works part time as a make-up artist. She is longing for a relationship and really knows what she wants. It’s not so easy however, to find a man like this. She also wants to be successful in her job and be more than just an assistant. She struggles to fit in with the other school mums, but she has a great best friend and aunt, who are always there for her. A great opportunity comes up and I really liked going on that journey with Robin. 

Louise Pentland’s writing is very natural, funny and light-hearted. I struggled with the structure of the book, the pace of the storyline didn’t make sense for me and I even lost interest at times. The interest always came back though and I was really routing for Robin. That’s probably also why I was a bit disappointed in the ending, it was not a round ending, something was missing. There will be a second book though, right?! The depth was missing for me, which is a shame, but I still enjoyed the story. 

It was lovely to spot Louise’s personality come through the writing, I even felt like she was there narrating the whole thing!


Louise Pentland on Twitter: @LouisePentland

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Q & A with Sara Hammel

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1.    Did you always dream of being a writer?

Well, when I was young, I thought I already wasa writer because my teachers acted so excited to read my work. But seriously, I was addicted to reading from a young age and that began to inspire me. I absorbed the structure and rhythm of a novel and the peaks and valleys of storytelling, and when it was time for me to start my first book, I was ready.

2.    How did your writing career develop?

I first became a journalist in college and wrote every week for the school paper. From there, I got my first professional job at a daily newspaper in Massachusetts and began my first novel, Looking for Lucy. (I never found an agent or publisher, so it went in my drawer, where it remains to this day as a necessary and valuable form of practice).

3.    Your newest novel is calledvFamous Last Words,what is it about?

The tagline on the back cover is, “Can 107 celebrities solve one impossible murder case?” It is a book about Hollywood, glamour, beauty, murder, and secrets. 

The book’s heroine, Augusta Noble, is suffering from amnesia and runs away from her real life in order to figure out what happened to her and her best friend one terrible night in New York. 

While the story resembles The Devil Wears Pradain that it looks at the cutthroat world of celebrity journalism through a fictional lens, I’ve woven in many of my best truestories from the years I spent covering the stars, from George Clooney to Chris Hemsworthto Chrissy Teigen, Oprah and evenAnglina Jolie. 

Ultimately I hope this is a killer beach read where people can learn something new about what the stars are reallylike, while also being captivated by a twisty mystery and an enduring friendship.

4.    What was your inspiration for the book?

I spent fourteen years as a reporter for Peoplemagazine, covering stories in nine different countries and at least a dozen big cities, and it was all the celebrities—around 300 at my latest count—I encountered that gave me a perspective not too many people have, not least because the stars are so hard to get to. Working for a magazine like Peoplegave me exclusive access few people ever get.

5.    Can you tell us more about the main character(s)?

Augusta Noble is a 29-year-old woman trying to solidify a career as a hard-nosed investigative journalist. Like so many of us, she considers herself a “serious” person but can’t help being a little obsessed with celebrities—in part because when times got hard throughout her life, all she had to do was watch a movie, read a magazine or look at the posters all over her room, and suddenly the beautiful, perfect celebrities made everything okay…for at least a little while.

6.    Where and when do you write your stories?

I start in my home office, then sometimes move out to the patio if weather allows. Sometimes I’ll head out to write in coffee shops or cafes; I find walking away from my office and creating a change of scenery helps motivate me and shake me out of any writing ruts.

7.    What do you do and enjoy when you’re not writing?

Rescuing dogs and walking the two pit bull mixes we have now.

8.    If you could switch places with a characters from a book, who would it be and why?

It would have to be Laura Ingalls Wilder—but only for a short time because I’m nowhere near as tough as the pioneers were! I’d love to go back to simpler times, meet Ma, Pa, Mary and Almanzo and the gang, experience life on the frontier, and then come back to my Internet and coconut milk cappuccinos (wink).

9.    What books have influenced your life most? 

That’s a hard one. The Strangerby Albert Camus stuck with me for decades. It was so hard for me, who is all about the feelings and empathy, to try to understand this cold, unfeeling character (as I saw him at a young age). On a lighter note, The Time Traveller’s Wife inspired me because—I know some people won’t agree—but I thought her writing and storytelling was so advanced and clever I could only dream of being that good. 

10.    What are you working on at the moment?

I’m writing a novel based on a true story about a group of “ordinary” women who volunteered for a brutal, punishing U.S. Army experiment to test women’s strength in the 1990s, and what they went through to try to make things better for the women serving in our military now.

11.     What do you enjoy most about writing?

How I can lose myself, how I can create good on the page in front of me when things seem so bad in the real world, and those times my characters fully come to life and I get to know them.

12.    Pick three authors you want to have dinner with and tell us why.

Laura Ingalls Wilder—what an incredible storyteller. 
Susan Isaacs—smartest women’s fiction writer I ever read, and her book Almost Paradise is one of the most underrated books ever. I’ve read it about 10 times.
Ernest Hemingway because I read The Sun Alsorises at a very formative time in my early 20s, when I was all about Europe and learning what absinthe was. (I’ll get back to you on this choice in the future, though, because the more I get into animal rights, the less I am impressed by his private life).

13.    Imagine Famous Last Words would be turned into a movie, who would you cast for the main characters?

There has been a LOT of discussion in my life about this question, because actors arethe characters! It’s fun to think about. Who would play John Travolta? Or Jennifer Garner, or Jennifer Lawrence? It’ll be a tough one to film. I would say Augusta Noble could be played by….Jennifer Lawrence! But then who would play Jennifer in the book? (see what I mean? It’s a tough one).

14.     Can you tell us more about your first book The Underdogs?

That was a true labor of love, a murder mystery for young readers based at a tennis club during one of the hottest summers on record, with one major twist only a few readers ever see coming. It was published in hardback in 2016, and paperback in 2017 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

15.     How do your own experiences influence your writing?

I’ve learned in my forties that if I hadn’t been busy living life, traveling, trying new things and having terrible heartbreaks over the decades, I wouldn’t be writing the kind of novels I am now. You have to have a life before you can try to create a believable one on the page.

16.    Coffee or tea?


17.    Paperback or e-reader? 

Depends on my mood and location! Paperback at the beach, always.

18.     Mountains or the sea? 

I’m a Pisces—always the sea.

19.      Summer or winter?

     SUMMER. Is this a serious question? ;)

20.     Sweet or salty? 

If I was stuck on a desert island, I’d have to say salty wins out in the end.


Where to buy in paperback, eBook or Kindle:

Link to The Underdogs: (in the Q&A)

Award-winning journalist Sara Hammel has spent two decades covering topics including crime, culture, celebrities, sports, the military, politics and women’s issues for People, U.S. News & World ReportIn Touch WeeklyThe Sunday Times Magazine (UK), GlamourShapeNewsweek  and The Daily Mail. Her first novel, middle-grade mystery THE UNDERDOGS (Farrar, Straus and Giroux BYR), is on sale now. She also contributed—along with such writers as Judy Blume and Gloria Steinem—to the feminist anthology LETTERS OF INTENT (Simon & Schuster, 1999). A hybrid author, Hammel hired a freelance editor (a veteran of several major publishing houses) and self-published her latest novel, FAMOUS LAST WORDS, available May 29, 2018 as an eBook and in paperback. 

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Western/California Highlights

My Western/California adventure is over, but the memories and experiences stay forever. The three weeks have been falloff highlights and I thought I'd share them here. 

My fave city during this strip was San Francisco for sure. No other city can compete with San Fran. It has to offer so much and even a week there is not enough. I will point out specific highlights in this post. Yosemite National Park was amazing as well, the nature is so impressive, I instantly fell in love with the landscape. And then there is The Grand Canyon, do I need to say more?!

Ok, let's get to the actual highlights: 

- Hot air ballooning over the Sonoran desert: Omg, it was incredible! Hot air ballooning has been on my bucket list for a while, so of course I signed up for it. We had to get up early, but it was so worth it. We saw them bowing up the balloons and then we just flow over the desert. Saw the sunrise, other balloons, the view was fabulous!

- Helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon: It's the Grand Canyon!!! The moment when we flew over the edge was amazing! Seeing the Canyon, the Colorado river, all the colours, just wow!!!

- Exploring Yosemite National Park: This park is fantastic. The nature is so pretty, it actually made me speechless. The mountains, the waterfalls, the forests, the lakes. A bike ride was the perfect way to explore the park and I'm sure I'll never forget this incredible day. 

- The Golden Gate Bride: We first drove over the bride in our our bus and then stopped at Vista Point to take pictures. Then we did a sunset cruise and sailed under the bridge, the sunset was awesome as well. During a bike tour we drove over the bridge as well and stopped along the way to take pictures. On the last day I even saw the bridge in fog.

- Coit Tower: The view from the tower is pretty impressive!!! You can see the whole city, over to Oakland, the Bay Bridge, Alcatraz and all the surrounding islands, the Golde Gate bride, Lombard sweet and so much more. 

- Alamo Square/The Painted Ladies: These houses look great next to each other, you get a city view and it's the perfect place to relax and read. 

- Twin Peaks: The best view of San Francisco!!!

- Monterey, Carmel and the 17-Mile Drive: Driving along the coast is an absolute must, just wow. Monterey and Carmel are cute little cities and there are so many wonderful things to see on the 17-Mile drive. 

San Francisco has so many highlights, so I will write a whole post about it and also about the 17-Mile drive possibly. Next up are my Contiki highlights. 

Monday, 28 May 2018

Sunshine and Sweet Peas in Nightingale Square - by Heidi Swain

Original Cover
My own copy

The blurb: 

The heart-warming new novel from the Sunday Timesbestselling author, perfect for fans of Carole Matthews, Milly Johnson and Cathy Bramley

Kate is on the run from her almost-divorced husband who is determined to have her back, and she has found the perfect place to hide... a little cottage on Nightingale Square in Norwich, far away from her old life in London. But the residents of Nightingale Square don't take no for an answer, and Kate soon finds herself pulled into a friendship with Lisa, her bossy but lovely new neighbour.

Within a matter of days Kate is landed with the job of campaigning the council to turn the green into a community garden, meanwhile all the residents of Nightingale Square are horrified to discover that the Victorian mansion house on the other side of the square has been bought by developers. But when all hope is lost, the arrival of a handsome stranger is sure to turn things around! 

Heidi Swain is the perfect summer read - you'll want to find your own green space, stretch out in the sun and dive into life at Nightingale Square.

My Opinion:

*Book provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

We are always in for a treat with Heidi Swain. This time she takes us to a new setting, which also means getting to know new characters, yay!!!

We follow Kate, who is on the run from her almost ex-husband. He wants her back and she just wants to get away from him. In Nightingale Square she has found a great hiding spot. It’s a fab place, everyone meets there and a lot of gossiping and socializing is happening.

When developers buy the big mansion on the other side of the square all hope is lost. 

The sense of community is wonderful in this story and so are the friendships, which are portrayed. Kate is a very authentic and real characters, who went through a lot in her life, but fights for what she wants. 

This book has it all! A wonderful set of characters, a fab setting, plenty of surprises, a bit of mystery and love. 

The book is full of twists and turns, the storyline flows beautifully and Heidi Swain's style is just wonderful. 

It's a cosy romance, perfect for a sunny day in the garden. 


Heidi Swain on Twitter: @Heidi_Swain
Goodreads - Amazon UK - Amazon US

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Fashion Corner - Booties Love

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I love these boots. I bought them in Milan.

The boots are from Passi Italiani. The are kind of a metallic green. I combined them with dark skinny jeans and a cosy jumper from rich&royal. 

- Boots: Passi Italiani
- Jumper: rich&royal
- Jeans: Jack Wills

Saturday, 26 May 2018

The Royal Wedding - Harry and Meghan

Last week Harry and Meghan had their big day and omg it was so beautiful. I thought, I'd share my fave parts and highlights in a blog post. 

I have always like Price Harry and I loved Meghan in Suits. I'm really happy they found their happy end. 

Ok let's start with the dress. 

It's definitely not what I expected, but it's so elegant and pretty. It's suits her really well and even though it's simple, the vail and the tiara are the perfect details. Simple earrings, a bracelet and that's it. 

Now this dress is PERFECT!!! I'm in love!

Her hair and make-up were wonderful as well. I adore the fact that you were able to see her freckles. Her make-up was very natural, to to much, nude lips, I love it. She had her hair up, just some loose strands around her face. 

Meghan had so much grace walking up the aisle and when Prince Charles joined her, I could't hold my tears anymore. Such a touching moment. 

The look of LOVE!!!


This is possibly my favourite picture of the day!!!

Princess Charlotte, adorable!!! Oh and btw, the Duchess of Cambridge was not wearing white, it was a light yellow. And the reason she looked tired: She has two kids and a newborn!!!

Now let's talk about the style of the wedding guests. 

Wow, look at them! The yellow dress suits Amal perfectly, the hat is gorgeous and George looks great as well. 

I love this dress and the hat is pretty as well. Well done, Sofia Wellesley. 

Gina Torres!! That dress, LOVE!!

Gabriel Macht and his wife Jacinta Barrett. I love her dress: the cut, the color and the hat!!! On point!

Patrick J. Adams and his wife Troian Bellisario. The more I look at her dress, the more I like it. 

Kitty Spencer. The hat is perfect. I love the color and the cut of the dress, the flowers are a bit much. 

Meghan's best friend Jessica Mulroney. The color of this dress is beautiful, what a great outfit. 

There is a reason I chose a picture without Victoria Beckham. David looked great and rocked his outfit. She had a pretty outfit, but maybe a little smile would have helped, she looked like she was going to a funeral. 

What were your fave moments and who was best dressed in your eyes?!

I was actually surprised not to see any foreign royals, but I guess they didn't invite any politicians, so the same went for royals from other countries. 

The official wedding photos the Kensington Palace released are adorable as well. 

Photo Credits: Kensington Palace, Telegraph, Hello Magazine.