Liebster Blog Awards – Have I Nominated You?

Thank you so much to Susan Buchanan (author of The Dating Game and Sign of the Times) for nominating my blog for this award.  

I didn’t really know much about the Liebster Award so after a bit of googling I felt really chuffed that Sooz had nominated me as it does primarily two things:

1.) Promotes new blogs

2.) Gives me a chance to write about myself!

LOL – How this works: People who get nominated have to state 11 “new” things about themselves, then answer 11 questions from the blogger who nominated them and then nominate 11 more bloggers who’ll do the same.

I’m a bit :-0 about this all, really my blog isn’t something I do to gain praise or money (although the latter would be nice!) I’m a bookworm at heart, I love to read, I feel lost if I haven’t got a book on the go and it is my love for books which prompts me to write.  (Also my appalling memory prompts me to blog as it’s useful to document what I’ve read so I dont end up buying the same book again and again)  Also I have little moments of inspiration whilst I go about my day to day life which I jot down in a hope to string together into my own novel one day.  But time and commitments are conspiring against me at the moment!

So lets kick this thing off…


11 Random Things About Myself:

1.) I’m left handed

2.) I’m very musical and have always wanted to be a pop star!

3.) I’m rubbish with my money

4.) I’m addicted to shopping

5.) I’m a girl racer

6.) I wish I was Made In Chelsea

7.) I’d love to be a lady of leisure

8.) I have quite an imagination that sometimes runs away with me

9.) My fiance and I share the same birthday – 21st December

10.) My ultimate aim would be for one of my books (I’m hoping I get round to writing them) get made into a film

11.) I’ve been to the cinema on my own


Questions from Susan Buchanan:


If you could turn back time, what, if anything would you change?

I dont have any major regrets really.  I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and if it is your destiny and you want it hard enough you’ll make it happen.  I do wish I was at the same stage of mental maturity I am now when I was at 18, looking back at the decisions I made at that time I could have applied myself more however I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for the decisions and opportunities I took.  It’s been hard work but I’ve become to accept that life is hard work.

What 3 things did/do you definitely want to do before you turned 30/turn 30?

I’ve got three years until I turn 30.  Before then I’d like to graduate in English Language and Literature, I’ve just started with the OU and enjoying it so much.  I want to marry my fiance, we’re planning a wedding abroad and finances permitting I’m hoping it’s next year we get to run away to get married!  And finally I’d like to travel, particularly Ireland and Scotland as I’ve never been, oh and go back to Japan as I miss it so.

Favourite takeway food

Japanese – I love it all; tempura, sushi all of it!

If you could date a famous actor/actress for one night only (don’t read anything into this!) who would it be?

Colin Firth – yes he may be 25 years older than me but I just adore him in Love Actually and Bridget Jones.  I do like a quality English actor 🙂

Wildlife programmes or home makeover shows?

Wildlife especially if it has something to do with Horses!

Favourite city in the whole world

Oh this one is hard, I love London especially after the Olympics, the atmosphere there is just so amazing still makes me proud of my  capital.  Abroad I’d say it would be a toss between Tokyo and Barcelona.  Tokyo because there is a Meiji Shrine in the middle of the city where there are 100,000 trees.  It’s such a peaceful, calm within the storm of a bustling city.  And Barcelona as that is where my fiance proposed last December 🙂

City, countryside or by the sea?

I live in Sussex on the South East Coast so I’m luckily to have both Countryside and Sea – I’m a country girl at heart and wouldn’t fair too well if I had to live in the City

Do you have any particular talents (keep it at a PG level pls!)

Nothing extra ordinary; I would like to think that I can tell a good story

Which sport do you wish (if any) that you were really good at (or are you already really good at?)

I love horse riding and was really proud at how well my sport did at the Olympics.  I hope it’s raised the profile and squished the common perception that we’re all posh and rich.  I’m very poor (due to the horse) and not at all posh!  I wish I had the backing to be able to ride professionally full time and “play ponies” all day long.

If today was the last day of Mankind (cheery thought…) what would you like to be doing?

I would have a party with all my friends and family


11 Questions for my nominees:

1.) I have to say I write more than I read blog wise, so I’ve chosen to nominate 11 people who follow me at  Tell me about your blog, why you write and what inspires you.

2.) If you woke up as someone else tomorrow (famous, fictional or other) who would it be and why?

3.) Describe yourself in three words

4.) What would you rather eating out alone or going to the cinema alone?

5.) Dog or Cat?

6.) Who is your favourite author?

7.) What is your most cherished memory/experience?

8.) If I gave you a million pounds/dollars (whatever your currency is) what would you spend it on?

9.) If you were stranded on a deserted island what three things would you want to have with you?

10.) Describe what a normal day off would be for you

11.) You have an hour to visit one place in London – where would you visit and why?


My 11 nominees are:






Author Thelma Cunningham

Daniel Postlethwaite


Wanderer from NY

Sandra’s Stories

TheCoevas Official


Unmasking Maya – Libby Mercer

Defamed, Disgraced and Displaced…
Fresh from a career-killing scandal, New York fashion girl, Maya Kirkwood, arrives in San Francisco to reinvent herself as a fine artist. She’s offered the opportunity to create an installation at the Silicon Valley headquarters of a hot new tech company. Fabulous, right?
Not so much.
She can’t stand Derek Whitley – wunderkind software genius and CEO of the company. Hot as he may be on the outside, inside the man is a cold, unemotional, robotic type. Way too left-brained for her right-brained self.
As Maya and Derek get to know each other, however, their facades begin to crack. She catches her first glimpse of the man behind the superhuman tech prodigy, and he starts to see her as the woman she used to be. But is this a good thing? Once that last secret is revealed, will it bring them closer together or will it tear them apart?
Thank you to the author Libby Mercer, for sending me a copy to review before the release date.  I loved this book, it has everything.  The secrets keep you guessing, and the build up as Maya and Derek get to know each other is fantastic.  I was sad to finish it, but in a good way.  You really get to know Maya the main character and some of the situations she’s in is quite funny.  She can be quite feisty, speaking her mind which I love.  I read it really quickly and was left wanting more.  Unmasking Maya is a fascinating page turner where you’ll find yourself warming to the characters.  It’s really well written with great attention to detail – I couldn’t put it down.  Make sure you get yourself a copy when this is released on the 15th December – for me it’s a must read.

When I Fall In Love – Miranda Dickinson

Elsie Maynard never expected to be starting again… 

…but eighteen months on from the biggest challenge of her life, she is doing just that –because she made a promise to the person who believed in her the most. 

Determined to step into her uncertain future, Elsie meets handsome Oliver Hogarth, who seems intent on winning her heart; she inadvertently founds a choir, and overcomes obstacles – most of which involve arrogant Torin Stewart. 

Then a heartfelt request brings her to Paris – and the final item on ‘The List’ that she never dared complete. 

Can Elsie follow her heart and put her past to rest?


When I Fall In Love is the latest moving read from Miranda Dickinson.  It will make you cry, laugh and feel part of the story.  The reason why Elsie is starting again is withheld from the reader at the beginning of the book.  This unusual choice allows the reader to warm to Elsie without feeling sorry for her.  And warm to her I did.  I could relate to her location, Brighton is very close to where I live and have spent many a weekend there either shopping, browsing the Laines and best of all enjoying the nightlife.  Careful consideration has been taken to set the scene.  Miranda uses excellent descriptions that even if you weren’t familiar with Gardner Street you get a flavour through what is written for just what it’s like.  The story itself was refreshing.  You have your usual chick lit format but how Elsie gets there is so different to many books I’ve read, which seem to follow the same girl meets boy, boy does something which upsets girl, boy redeems himself and then they both live happily ever after.  The first thing that jumps out is that Elsie had her chance of living happily ever after torn away from her, and because of this it has the possibility of ensuring she’ll never get a happy ever after.

How can it be a Miranda Dickinson book without something to do with music or being creative being a big part of the story?  Elsie starts up a community choir which is a fabulous idea and really makes me want to get out there and join a Glee like club so I can live out my Rachel-esq fantasy.  I felt part of the book in a way, I think mainly due to my connection with Brighton – I drive the A27 nearly on a daily basis.  And the idea of the list is fantastic – it’s inspired me to do a bucket list.  I loved this book and rate it a Must Read.

The Dating Game – Susan Buchanan


Workaholic recruitment consultant, Gill McFadden, is sick of her friends trying to match-make for her. Up until now her love life has been a disaster and she’s going through a drier spell than the Sahara desert. 
She realises she has to act, as work keeps piling up and at this rate she will have retired before she has time for a relationship.
Seeing an ad on a bus one day, she decides to visit Happy Ever After dating agency. She quickly discovers men are like buses. They all come along at once. Unsure what her type is, Gill decides to keep her options open. Soon she has problems juggling her social life as well as her work diary. Will she ever strike the right balance?
Before long she is experiencing laughs, lust and… could it be love? But like everything in Gill’s life, nothing is straightforward and she ends up wondering exactly who she can trust.


Thank you to the author, Susan for sending me a copy of The Dating Game to review.  I really enjoyed Susan’s first book Sign of the Times and couldn’t wait until her second book was released.  I wasn’t disappointed; The Dating Game is just as good as if not better!  The descriptions are spot on and the characters are so well written that I related to them.  I loved the Barcelona bit, as the city holds happy memories for me, so reliving my last visit through the girls was great.  Susan is obviously a foodie – I wish I was there having tapas with the girls.  Or eating one of the yummy sounding dishes Gill eats on her dates.  I devoured this book quite quickly.  It’s a real page turner with a twist to the plot which I’m rating as a must read.

Gabriel’s Inferno and Gabriel’s Rapture – Sylvain Reynard

 With all the obsessive yearning of Twilight

the intensity of Fifty Shades

 and this time, written by a man

Gabriel’s Inferno

 and the sinfully seductive sequel

Gabriel’s Rapture


 Ebook – 11th September 2012 – £2.99

 Paperback Original 11th October 2012 £7.99

Two tortured souls and a wildly romantic tale of forbidden passion

The Gabriel’s Inferno series is the next erotic romance sensation that is storming the world and the New York Times Bestseller list with sales totalling over 80,000 copies on first US publication. It is no surprise that both eBooks have already gone straight into the UK top 10 iBookstorecharts. This book plunders the most erotic and sensual depths of Sylvain’s imagination. Be prepared to be utterly seduced.

He was a tortured teen and it was the night he thought he had been saved by an angel. For Julia, it was a beautiful night of firsts and one she could never forget. Her first beer, the first time she held a boy’s hand, her first kiss … the first time she had felt loved. Purity meets sin in a perfect moment that meant everything to her. But she wakes up alone. Terrified and rejected, she knows she will never see him again.

Gabriel Emerson is a man tortured by his dark past. A highly respected university professor, Gabriel uses his devilish good looks and notorious powers of seduction to lead a secret life of pleasure where nothing is out of bounds.

 Sweet and innocent, Julia Mitchell enrols as Gabriel’s graduate student. His immediate attraction to her and their powerful and strange connection threatens to derail his career. Wildly passionate and sinful, Gabriel’s Inferno and Gabriel’s Rapture explore the intense power of forbidden love.

One man’s salvation, one woman’s sexual awakening

Who is Sylvain Reynard?

 Sylvain Reynard is a Canadian writer with an interest in renaissance art and culture and an inordinate attachment to the city of Florence. Sylvain is interested in the way literature can help us explore the human condition, particularly suffering, sex, love, faith and redemption. His favourite stories are those in which a character takes a journey – either a physical journey to a new and exciting place, or a personal journey in which he or she learns something about himself/herself. Sylvain is also interested in how aesthetic elements such as art, architecture, and music can be used to tell a story or to illuminate the traits of a character. In Reynard’s writing, all of these elements are combined, along with the themes of forgiveness and the transformative power of goodness.

 Find out more about Sylvain at

Many thanks to Katie Sheldrake at Penguin for sending me these books for review.  Now I’ll put my hands up and say that I don’t read many books written by men.  I do find that some books written by men aren’t in a style I enjoy nor can they write about women realistically.  But no, not Sylvain Reynard – he can write more of this please.  I was a bit apprehensive about whether this book would be good enough.  The press release above states that Gabriel’s Inferno and Gabriel’s Rapture have all the obsessive yearning of Twilight and the intensity of Fifty Shades.    I really enjoyed Twilight however I did get a bit annoyed that a leading lady being portrayed as a clumsy, weak woman – whilst Edward could be the overpowering controlling man.  I found the Fifty Shades trilogy an interesting read; let’s face it the book was a real eye opener and as a standalone story was good.  But once you realise its fan fiction for Twilight you start noticing the similarities in the plot lines, characters and writing.

 For me Gabriel’s Inferno and Gabriel’s Rapture were different.  There are only slight similarities between this series and Twilight.  A forbidden romance, the difficulties they face and sacrifices made.  Julia is similar to Bella, she can be clumsy.  She’s incredibly shy in contrast to Bella, the reason why becomes apparent in the first book.  Gabriel is more Christian Grey than Edward, just without the extreme sexual appetite.  He’s very old fashioned in dress sense and manners.  The way he wants to protect and care for Julia is very controlling.  Together they help each other.  The danger they face is similar to Twilight where should their relationship between student and professor be found out it would ruin both of them.

 I really enjoyed the books; don’t be expecting wild sex from the beginning.  I did get a bit annoyed at the reference to what each moment reminds the character of. “This reminds me of…” but I think that was because I didn’t have the knowledge of what they were referring to.  I was a bit lost with the Dante references, but the book taught me about Dante and also has a very good message to give to the reader about relationship and morals.  This for me is my book of the month – a must read, I really really hope that there is going to be a third.  To read a Q&A with the Author, Sylvain Reynard click here:

My Animals and Other Family – Clare Balding


‘I had spent most of my childhood thinking I was a dog, and I suspect I had aged in dog years. By the time I was ten I had discovered the pain of unbearable loss. I had felt joy and jealousy. Most important of all, I knew how to love and how to let myself be loved. All these things I learnt through animals. Horses and dogs were my family and my friends. This is their story as much as it is mine’

Clare Balding grew up in a rather unusual household. Her father a champion trainer, she shared her life with more than 100 thoroughbred racehorses, mares, foals and ponies, as well as an ever-present pack of boxers and lurchers. As a toddler she would happily ride the legendary Mill Reef and take breakfast with the Queen.

She and her younger brother came very low down the pecking order. Left to their own devices, they had to learn life’s toughest lessons through the animals, and through their adventures in the stables and the idyllic Hampshire Downs. From the protective Candy to the pot-bellied Valkyrie and the frisky Hattie, each horse and each dog had their own character and their own special part to play.

The running family joke was that “women ain’t people”. Clare had to prove them wrong, to make her voice heard – but first she had to make sure she had something to say.

My Animals and Other Family is a funny, brave, tender story of self- discovery.

Now I dont normally go for biogs, preferring fiction; but something about this book made me want to read it.  I loved how each chapter was seperated into each different pet or horse Clare knew growing up.  It had me laughing and crying in many places.  She tells her story so well, which is easy to read and understand.  I’m horsey but not that interested in Racing, but I understood what she was on about and could easily visualise the races or mishaps Clare got herself into growing up!  She evoked fond memories I have, especially as I was a fearless tom boy growing up too who would get myself in lots of trouble sometimes involving a pony or friend.

Such a memory she has remembering so many things she did – even that or she had such a more eventful and interesting growing up than I did.  Maybe that is why I cant remember much of my childhood because not a lot happened.   Such a good storyteller and because of this I’m making My Animals and Other Family my Book of the Month for October.

My next read is A Very Accidental Love Story by Claudia Carroll

The Casual Vacancy – JK Rowling

  When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.

I enjoyed The Casual Vacancy although not as much as I was anticipating.  Trying really hard not to compare to Harry Potter as JK Rowling’s long awaited first adult novel gets released with little publicity.  I think the publishers were hoping that although The Casual Vacancy is of a different genre to Harry Potter; the legacy would carry over the popularity.  However I think this is major oversight.  It is always a problem when such a well loved series could turn you into a “One Hit Wonder” should an author wish to change genre mid career.  I think should The Casual Vacancy have the same amount of hype created over Harry Potter it may have been better received.

JK Rowling has a lot of loyal fans – many who have grown up with the Harry phenomenon; now are adults so there is no questioning that the readers are there.  But I fear that many readers would be disappointed as the magic (pardon the pun) spun in Harry Potter is gone.  The book is slow in many places, feeling like I was wading through bumf to get to the good stuff.

The storey is good, current and very believable.  It mainly follows a death of a parish councillor and the lives of who nominate themselves to take the post.  There are many sub stories which following people who are affected by the council and the decisions that are made.   It’s very current covering death, council housing, drug addicts and adolescents.  The good bits are very good but it isn’t the easy read which JK Rowling fans are accustomed to.  I think hardcore fans will persevere where many will join the growing list of readers who did not finish.

I suppose it all boils down to one question: Does as author write to sell books? Or write a classic piece of literature that readers will enjoy again and again?  As Harry Potter is one and The Casual Vacancy is the other.  I’m rating this as an Okay Read.  My next book is My Animals and Other Family by Clare Balding.

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