Jun 30, 2014

Don't Tell the Groom by Anna Bell

Will Penny be able to keep her secret long enough to say 'I do'?

Penny has big dreams for her wedding day. She wants an unforgettable celebration, perfect down to the last detail, and has been saving for ages to make her dream a reality. When Mark finally pops the question, it's the best moment of her life.

Until Penny checks her wedding fund and is horrified to discover that something has gone terribly wrong. There's far less money there than she'd thought... and it's all her fault. She can't tell Mark the truth about what she's done, he knows nothing about how much time she spends gambling online. Her only choice is to seek help for her addiction and get married on a drastically smaller budget.

Working under the pretense of surprising Mark with her plans on their big day, operation 'Don't Tell the Groom' rolls into action, with surprising, hilarious and moving results.


Penny has dreamed about her perfect wedding for many years. She has mood boards and has made so many plans for her perfect day already that she can't wait until her boyfriend, Mark, will finally ask her. When he pops the question she's thrilled. She hasn't been completely honest with him though. She wanted to add some money to their savings by playing online bingo and doesn't want Mark to find out about it. That's why Penny offers to organize the entire wedding as a surprise for him. Mark likes the idea and agrees. When she finally checks her bank statements Penny's surprised to find out that there's only a small wedding budget left. She's gambled away most of their savings. Penny's Don't Tell the Groom idea is now more important than ever. She has to organize a perfect wedding on a very small budget without Mark finding out. Will she succeed?
I loved Penny. She's a sweet and cheerful person. She might have been a bit naive when she started playing online bingo, but she dealt with her problems the best way she could. She handled things without feeling sorry for herself the entire time. Penny had to be smart and creative and she came up with many great things. It was so much fun to read about dresses, locations, invitations and weddings in general. A lot of couples have to get married on a limited budget and Anna Bell describes that process quite accurately. Penny made me smile and all the things she did to make sure her wedding would be perfect were fantastic. I wanted Penny to succeed very badly and I couldn't put the book down until I found out what would happen with the wedding. I liked the suspense. The honesty about the gambling, which seemed innocent, but actually wasn't, was refreshing. The confusion and the interfering grandma made the story complete. I enjoyed Don't Tell the Groom very much. It's a great story from beginning to end.

Thank You! & Birthday Giveaway!

Bijschrift toevoegen

I love birthdays, mainly because I'm in the spotlight on that day. Receiving wonderful, kind and loving messages makes me feel so happy! Because I want to do something back I'm going to give away a present. It's a mystery gift, because that is what birthday gifts are all about. You can add your preferences in the comments section. Good luck and thank you for the wonderful wishes!

Birthday Books!




I received these kindle books as a birthday present! Thank you Jason for sending me books from wherever you are!

Jun 29, 2014

Sister Time!

Closet

I try to spend my Saturdays with my sister. That's also what I've done this weekend. I went there to do the usual. I cleaned, did some jobs for the website and I made dinner for an entire week. My sister has found someone to help her with the website. It's going so well and I'm glad she's making enough money to hire a woman who can do some of the work for her, because she's clearly exhausted. 
I brought a bottle of wine and we finally had the time for some sister talk. We chatted about Seth of course and how busy Dawn is. She also told me that she's slowly saying goodbye to her husband, because she doesn't think he'll be all right again. That's so sad. Fortunately Dawn has a few very good friends and several helpful neighbors. And then of course there's her family. My parents often help out and at work she has some nice colleagues who are very friendly too. Even Seth's new regular nurse has taken her out for a drink and a chat. She's sad, but all the love and care she's getting is making her happy.
A few months ago Seth was all we talked about, but now there was room for a few jokes, work talk, gossip and family news as well. I told her about Calvin and how well things are going. I'm glad my sister likes my boyfriend. She thinks we're great together. Since I've met Calvin I've changed. I think about life more and I try to enjoy every good moment. That's how Dawn tries to live as well. Of course she also showed me her new clothes, they're gorgeous. Dawn is always looking fantastic. I make an effort and she succeeds, that's the difference between us. She's the typical successful older sister and I'm the baby. These days I'm also mothering her though, so only the success is still lacking.  

My Summer Book Trip 3: Granada, Spain

Amazon

The Return is a captivating new novel of family, love, and betrayal set against a backdrop of civil war, flamenco, and fiery Spanish passion. The author of the beloved international bestseller The Island, Victoria Hislop now transports the reader to Granada, Spain, in a time of historic turmoil. The Return is a colorful and spellbinding saga of a family inspired by music and dance, only to be torn apart by fragile hearts and divided loyalties during the bitter war that brought the dictator Generalissimo Francisco Franco to power.

After spending an enjoyable week in the French vineyards it's time to continue my book travel. This week I'd like to go to Granada, in Spain. In The Return Victoria Hislop writes about the past and the present. The past is quite tragic and a lot of people are in danger. This story is really beautiful, but part of it is also sad. I've read this book a while ago and was very impressed with the detailed descriptions. I couldn't put this novel down, because I wanted to know what happened and most importantly why.
 I would like to travel to the Granada of the present. There I would of course love to taste delicious food, but most of all I want to go dancing.  I will defintely visit the cafĂ© that plays an important role in this book. I can picture myself having a wonderful morning coffee there. Then I'm going to be a little more active. Who doesn't want to dance in the Spanish sun while wearing a gorgeous dress? I'm very much looking forward to a week of dreaming about this next book destination.

Suzanne's Birthday Facts


1) Last year my parents gave me a box filled with 35 books! A Night on the Orient Express by Veronica Henry was one of them.

2) My birthday is on September 4th. As I love the summer and Lavender is a cheerful and sunny person I thought I would give her a June birthday. The last day of the month, in the middle of the year. It suits her very well.

3) My star sign is Virgo, but I'm not serious and organized at all. I'm very chaotic actually.

4) I always put clothing on my birthday wishlist, because I love wearing something new on my special day. My mother gets me something nice every year!

5) I like to give myself a birthday present. A friend gave me the idea and I loved it. It's wonderful to spoil myself with something I don't need, but really like. 

6) One time I had a disastrous birthday. I was on holiday and my husband forgot to bring the decorations and my present. We made reservations for lunch and the restaurant hadn't put us in their book and was completely full, so they sent us away. My husband made up for it as soon as we came home by making sure I could celebrate again on another day with lots of champagne. My present was a beautiful jewellery set.

7) I've been ill on my birthday several times. Fortunately I've been able to postpone the celebrations and haven't missed anything because of it. Once I had a delicious meal, prepared in the kitchen of a restaurant and picked up by my husband, in bed.

8) My friends often buy me presents together. For example to give me a complete series of books.

9) My husband likes to congratulate me in public places. Even, or maybe especially, when it's not my birthday. I've received lots of good wishes from strangers and even though it embarrasses me very much I do think it's kind of funny.

10) I celebrated my 30th birthday with a large dinner party. It was such a lot of fun!

Birthday Wishes!


Made by Freepik

 It's my birthday tomorrow. I love celebrating and my birthday is one of the most important events in my life for me. I've been looking forward to this day for months and I've given my birthday list to all of my friends and family in March already. It might sound strange, but for me my 29th birthday is just as magical as my 7th. I'm still that little girl who's waiting for her cake and presents. I'm a bit nervous, but I know something great is going to happen. I've never had a birthday that wasn't fun. I know that adds a bit of pressure, but I never think it isn't going to be great. What matters to me most is the company though. The guests are there for me and I'm getting their undivided attention. This year I'll even have more days of celebrating. I can't wait to write about them!

Jun 28, 2014

Lizzy's Engagement Party


I shopped in my sister's closet again for a dress to wear to Lizzy's engagement party. I chose this wonderful Carven dress. Lizzy and Luke wanted an official and large party. I was surprised there were so many people. For their engagement alone they had invited a hundred people. It was more or less what I pictured my wedding would look like. Lizzy was wearing a simple and gorgeous white dress and Luke wore a tailored black suit. They are a stunning pair. 
Even though so many people were present I kept also thinking about the two who weren't. Calvin has said it several times already, he thinks it's really time to let it go and to stop hoping things will be all right between my friends again. I'm trying and it really helps. I did have fun catching up with Jenna. She looked stunning in a black and white dress. She's starting to show and the little tummy looks lovely on her. There were lots of delicious snacks, so much champagne that it was like it came out of the tap and there was a great jazz band. Everyone was having a good time. Luke went on one knee to ask Lizzy to marry him again. It was all so cute and sweet. She's got a stunning ring, a white gold band with a huge diamond, the real deal.
Lizzy told me that Luke is designing a house for them. He's asked her what she likes and is designing the house of her dreams. Those are the advantages of being with an architect. She's so happy and I'm glad she's found the love of her life.

Crazy Rumors HibisKiss Coral

Ecco Verde

I've talked about Crazy Rumors lip balms several times during the past couple of weeks. I decided to also try one of their HibisKiss lip colors. I chose Coral and I love it. The effect on my lips is subtle, but the pearly shine is very pretty. I also really like the scent the nurturing effect. I'm so happy with this product that I bought the whole set.

Irrepressible You by Georgina Penney

You don't become a notorious British celebrity without rubbing a few people the wrong way, which is why writer and comedian Ben Martindale has decamped to Australia until the latest media frenzy dies down.

When he meets Amy Blaine, a perky blonde who dresses like a 1950s pin-up girl, he knows he's hit the satirical jackpot. He begins to fill his weekly London column with snarky observations about her life, clothes, and even their most intimate moments. It doesn't occur to him that Amy, who is letting her guard down for the first time in her adult life, might be upset - after all, it's hilarious, and his readers love her!

It isn't until Amy discovers the extent of his betrayal that Ben begins to realise just how badly he's cocked up the best thing that ever happened to him. But is it too late?

Amazon

The British satirical writer Ben has moved to Australia after a bad break up and the media attention that came with it. There he meets Amy, a small, cute woman with an exceptional dress style. She's working as a barber and hairdresser and she always looks impressive because of her fantastic fifties style. Ben immediately likes her and she becomes his muse. He writes satirical columns for a newspaper and describes their meetings. His audience loves what he's writing about Amy. In the meantime Amy is slowly starting to trust Ben. After a difficult past it isn't easy for her to open up to a man again. Unfortunately she doesn't know about Ben's articles and the way he's portrayed her. 
Irrepressible You is an unusual love story. Georgina Penney has written a wonderful and original story. I liked the setting of this novel very much. Because of all the clear descriptions of the surroundings, clothing, looks, but also emotions the story is quite vivid. I had the feeling that I really got to know Ben, Amy and the people in their lives. I couldn't put this book down. I read it in one go, because I was so curious to see how the story would develop. I'm glad I had the chance to read this novel as it's very good! 

Love, Lies and Lemon Cake by Sue Watson + Giveaway!

Love, Lies and Lemon Cake is a laugh-out-loud, bittersweet comedy about taking your life back before it’s too late.

Faye Dobson has lost her sparkle. Living on film star fantasies and vague memories of a marriage that once was, she can’t help feeling that life is passing her by. She dreams of being whisked to Paris for dinner, making three wishes at the Trevi fountain and having sex under the stars. But the wrinkles are multiplying, her husband’s passion is for plumbing, and the nearest she’ll get to Rome is a take-away pizza.

So when Faye meets Dan the gorgeous Australian surfer guy working in the local deli she can’t help but wonder what it would be like to see the world. He is blonde, tanned, ten years younger and bakes the most amazing lemon cake. Unlike her husband Dan actually listens to Faye, his smile makes her feel fizzy inside, and when he smiles... Oh. My. God.

But is Faye being silly? What would Dan see in someone like her? Even if he did have feelings for her, could she give up everything to be with him? 

Amazon

Faye Dobson isn't happy. She's secretly been wishing for years to get away from home and her boring marriage. Her husband is more interested in pipes than in his wife. She dreams about sexy film stars, which is the highlight of her life. She wants to change that, to see the world. When she meets Dan, the new Australian guy behind the counter of a local deli Faye decides it's time to put her plans into action. She packs her beautiful pink backpack and leaves home to live with a friend. This means a future without certainties, filled with lemon cake and dares. Faye finally starts living. It's scary, but it's also a lot of fun. The only question is, if Dan is really interested in Faye? Was she right to give up her safe and secure life for a much younger man?
I'm a big fan of Sue Watson. When she asked me to read this book I was thrilled and I couldn't wait to get started. The story is wonderful as the cute and cheerful cover. I loved the life plans on Faye's living list. For me well executed food talk, especially about baking, makes a book so much fun. I could almost taste Dan's delicious lemon cake. Faye is such a great main character, she rocks, especially when she's doing all those things she never dreamed of daring to do. Age is something relative, it's never too late for change. This book doesn't only prove that, it embraces it. Love, Lies and Lemon Cake is a fantastic summer read!

 

Jun 27, 2014

A Wonderful Summer Evening!


It was warm and sunny this week which meant that Edward and Victoria invited everyone for a barbecue on a weekday instead of a dinner. They have a beautiful garden with flowers around the lawn. A huge table was standing in the middle of it and Victoria had very stylishly decorated it with a purple and pink flower theme.
 We were all supposed to sit down and let our hosts do the work, but Calvin and I are not like that. I love helping Victoria. She's such a sweet person. She and Edward want other people to enjoy their good fortune. They share everything they have, their money, home, hospitality and great food. Jim and Rian are both single and they are authors, it was a good idea of them to invite them together. The rest of the guests I didn't know. I'm often having dinner with Edward and Victoria, but every time I meet new people.
Calvin made a good business deal with a lady called Amelia, who's about to open a vintage themed tea shop. He's going to supply some of his teas and he'll share a few contacts with her. She will also sell dresses, aprons and a lot of gorgeous china. She started with an online business a few years ago and I can't believe I've missed her gorgeous shop. I instantly liked Amelia and I can't wait to see her new shop. She's kindly invited us to the opening. Our city has a huge shopping centre, but most of the stores are owned by large chains. It will be nice to be able to go to something small and local for a change. I am sure Gina will love that shop as well. She's very much into vintage and she often visits antique markets.
The barbecue was wonderful. The highlight was the strawberry chocolate cake Victora made for desert. Of course we all had way too much to drink to go home. This time I was ready and I brought another Modcloth dress to wear to work the next day. First we had a wonderful breakfast with berry pancakes. Edward and I were late for work, but the boss didn't seem to mind at all.



Lavender's latest purchases

I bought this Lemon Bon Bon hand cream and lip balm. I love hand creams and have many different kinds all spread around my living room. When I shop for beauty items I always buy a new lip balm. I really like it when I've got a matching set.




These are my latest book purchases. I can't wait to read them!



I also shopped at La Marelle again!


My Lemon Cake Living List + Giveaway!

I love Sue Watson's Love, Lies and Lemon Cake. I especially liked the bucket list. It's wonderful to have a list like that and I love achieving goals that I've set for myself. I've made my very own Lemon Cake Living List many years ago and would like to share it with you.


The things I've already done:

1) Climbing a lamppost. It might sound like a very strange thing to do, but I always wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.

2) Finding the love of my life. I've already found mine at the sage of sixteen, so that was one I could cross off very quickly.

3) Eating at a restaurant that has three Michelin stars. Bras in Laguiole is a fantastic restaurant. I was quite scared, because it's also very posh, but I loved it. I will never forget the experience. They also showed us the kitchen which was huge and very impressive.
4) Write a book. I added this to my list when I was fourteen, but it took me a long time before I actually had the courage to start writing.

5) Climb a rock and jump into the water to swim among the fishes. I did that as soon as I had the chance. Of course I was scared, but only the first time...

6) Cycling through Paris. This is one of the best things I've ever done!

7) Starting a blog to share the things I love with other people. It took me a few years, but here I am!

8) Visiting a fancy hair salon to get a perfect haircut. I'm glad this isn't on my list anymore. I chose a famous hairdresser who's popular among celebrities. I will never do that again, it was horrible! It took a whole year before my hair looked all right again.

9) Reading 200 books in one year.

10) Eating something scary. I ate brains and they didn't taste so awful, I actually liked them. It's not something I will choose to eat very often though.

11) Standing under a waterfall. It was amazing and I want to do it again!


The things I haven't done yet:

1) Sending my books to a publisher or agent. I've promised myself I will do that this summer after one more round of editing.

2) Drinking Dom Perignon champagne.

3) Living abroad. I want to experience what it's like to live in another country.

4) Learning how to play an instrument. I envy the people who can. I've had lessons, but I don't know if I will ever manage to do this.

5) Christmas shopping in London and New York. I want to spend that magical time somewhere else for a change.

6) Renewing my vows and organizing a second wedding. I would love to get married again. I liked the first time very much!

7) Buying a Mauboussin ring with money that I've earned.

8) Learning how to stand up for myself. I'm doing better, but it's far from enough yet.

9) Watching a beautiful sunset on a tropical beach.


You can win an e-copy of Love, Lies and Lemon Cake!



Read the first chapter here! http://www.scribd.com/doc/231243156/Love-Lies-and-Lemon-Cake-Chapter-One-FREE

This is a post about Suzanne.
 

Jun 26, 2014

Orange, Books and Football


There's a thing I really like about the football/soccer world cup and that is buying orange clothes. I love this Alice + Olivia dress. I must admit I often don't watch an entire match. Calvin loves sports and he begged me to come with him. We've watched several games in a local bar, but I secretly read on my phone most of the time. Everyone was way too busy cheering and commenting on the games. I don't think anyone around me noticed that I was watching a different screen. Fortunately I can keep wearing orange for a little while longer as I do love the color. As long as I can bring my mobile to wherever Calvin decides to take me in the next couple of evenings I'll be all right.
 

More new books!


 
I've used the rest of my amazon giftcard to buy these books! Thanks so much! 

Patisserie De Bain Giveaway!


If you follow my blog you know how much I like Rose & Co products. I'll be giving away hand cream and lip balm this time. The exact prize depends on what Asos has available at that moment.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

Jun 25, 2014

The Tea Shop by De-ann Black

Jayne's job is to find suitable pop-up shops for businesses looking for temporary premises on the beautiful West Coast of Scotland.

Rich and handsome Brodan McBride, a master baker, becomes one of her new clients and opens a pop-up tea shop selling cakes, ice cream and afternoon tea in one of the busy seaside towns. She also meets Fergus, a gorgeous bespoke tailor who makes Brodan's expensive suits. Jayne's friend and hairdresser, Ceard, isn't sure that she should become romantically involved with either of them.

Although Jayne is attracted to Brodan, is he the man for her? Or is Fergus and his well-cut suits a better fit? Then again, has she been friends with the man who was meant for her all along?

In the busy seaside town, with its lovely little tea shop, gossip, cakes and ice cream, there's only one thing for sure -- Brodan McBride grinds his own nuts.


Jayne loves finding new business for the buildings she lets as pop-ups. When Brodan wants to start a business in town she finds him the perfect location for his tea shop. At first there is some attraction between Jayne and Brodan, but is he really the man she's looking for? When she meets his best friend Fergus there's a click straight away, but Jayne doesn't know if he's right for her either. Her best friend Ceard helps her to make some decisions and meanwhile her hair looks always fabulous, because he's a hairdresser. 
Will Jayne find the man of her dreams? How is the tea shop doing? It's all in this wonderful novella. I really liked the friendships, the dialogue and the description of the characters in this story. The drawing at the beginning of each chapter is so cheerful. There's a lot of love, but not all is happy and wonderful in the seaside town. The reader is being introduced to several business owners and learns a lot about their lives. That's the strong point of The Tea Shop. Jayne is great, she's fierce and smart and I liked to see how she handled all the different situations she got involved in by accident. The atmosphere is brilliant and I can't wait to read the second part of this series!

SO'BiO Mascara Volume


It's time to talk about a beauty item again. This time I've tried SO'BiO's Mascara Volume. Bio mascaras can be difficult, because they often don't have the stunning effect that regular mascaras have. I still like the idea of using something that is better for me and for the environment. This mascara doesn't bring layers of volume, but it's perfect for women who already have some lashes and only need mascara to enhance what's already there. I think this mascara is great. It doesn't irritate my eyes. Even though it's subtle I like how it looks on me. It's also very easy to put on and it doesn't smear. I haven't had panda eyes and it stays where it has to be all day. This product is quite suitable for an every day look. It doesn't have a dramatic effect, but it's a good mascara. I love it and will continue using it.

Studying and Work


This wonderful Motel Arta Dress is from Asos. Even though I had to study this weekend I wanted to wear something nice. The weather was great, but I was stuck inside. I did some chores for Dawn, but other than that I studied. I want to pass my exams. I really like the courses, but I'm not sure if I'm ready to manage the library. I would like to be an author instead. That is something I can only dream about, because I haven't gotten very far yet. I know most authors hardly make any money and it's a hard and uncertain profession, but for me it's magic. 
I've printed the manuscript of my YA novel and I still can't believe I filled all of those pages. I'm not very happy with my work yet, there's still a lot that has to be corrected and fine tuned, but it's something I've achieved and I'm proud of it. Lately I often find myself thinking about life, my job and happiness and I've come to the conclusion that work isn't everything. Love is my number one priority and my second one is my books. I have plenty of stories to tell. For now I'll have to go back to my books and make sure I'll pass those exams as when you want to become an author you also need to have a plan B. Fortunately it includes a nice boss, some great colleagues and books all around me. I'm a lucky woman.

I received a present!



 I received an amazon gift card and 'bought' these books today. I'm so happy now!

Jun 24, 2014

Candra's Freedom by AJ Nuest

HarperImpulse Fantasy Romance Novella
The key would unlock his future and the safety of his kingdom, but he never imagined the sorceress would unlock his heart…
Lost in a world she doesn't recognize, Rowena struggles to find her place.
Yet her abilities with a blade and the loyalty of a fierce falcon don't discourage the heated advances of the handsome Prince Caedmon, and the connection between them seems much deeper than her troubled heart can recall.
Book 2 in the breathtaking new Fantasy Romance series from AJ Nuest!

Amazon
Rowena has no memory of her past and she feels alone in the castle. Prince Caedmon can't be by her side. He's still as much in love with her as he was since the first moment he saw her, but he has no idea how she feels. Rowena isn't going to sit back and be sad. She doesn't like most of the people in the castle and she wants to be able to fight. That's why she's started training to become a fierce warrior. It's her ticket out of the castle, which is all she can think about. Will Caedmon be able to return on time to win her back or has she forgotten everything about him as well?
Rowena is suddenly a strong and kick-ass heroine with a terrific falcon on her shoulder. She wins every battle, but something is standing in her way. She has to fight to become free again. Candra's Freedom is very different from the first novella in The Golden Key Chronicles. It was a nice surprise. AJ Nuest can tell a story and this one is absolutely wonderful again. I loved the fighting scenes. They show how much Rowena has grown as a person. Even though she doesn't have any memories from before she stepped through the mirror, she still has the same determined character, which is what's making her so likable. I'm glad I've discovered AJ Nuest's books. When I read them it feels like it's my birthday. I'm opening a present every time I start one.   

Book Talk: Weddings!


I'm currently reading Don't Tell the Groom and it made me think about weddings. I love reading about people who are getting married. In books it is never all going according to plan, but which weddings aren't like that? Maybe the terribly expensive ones that have enough budget for a wedding planner could be perfect for the couple that's getting married. Behind the scenes it will be quite different though. A wedding has something magical, but to create that it costs a lot of effort. 
I'm not even engaged yet, but I've been thinking about marriage a lot lately. Not only because of the romance of the day, but also because of my sister. What she's going through makes me realize that I have to celebrate life. That also means celebrating love. It is the most important thing there is and should never be taken for granted.
My dream wedding doesn't have to cost very much. I would of course love the dressing up part. I want my ceremony to take place on the beach. It doesn't have to be some tropical, far away destination, but I like the idea of staring in the distance and seeing possibilities. To me that is what water represents. My parents and aunt and uncle have a great location for the party, so I wouldn't have to pay for that. Calvin can arrange the cake and I know several people who can do the catering. I've almost planned my entire wedding already, but it's far too early to tell my groom to be about my plans. What's wrong with me?

Book Bargains from the Bookdepository


 I've ordered these bargains from the Bookdepository and can't wait to receive them!


Be an e-tailPR blogger