Jun 30, 2015

Giveaway: L'Occitane Verveine Pouch & Macaron Keychain


Win a L'Occitane pouch filled with Verveine products and a macaron keychain. Good luck!

 I will contact the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international.   

An Interview With Rachel McIntyre! + Giveaway


I loved Me & Mr J, it's one of the best books I've read this year. I had so many questions when I finished this controversial and emotional read and am very happy that Rachel McIntyre has given me the chance to ask them.

1) Could you tell something about yourself?

Hi! My name is Rachel and I live just outside Manchester with my boyfriend and our young son. I was a teacher before I became a writer. I’m a huge live music fan; I used to be a Goth; I’ve been a vegetarian since I was twelve; I read a lot; I’ve got a twin sister; I go to the gym; I am a terrible cook (I set fire to a jacket potato the other week) but I like making cakes; I lived in Spain for years, New York for a while, love travelling and only have a few left on my “visit every European capital” bucket list.

2) Your book Me and Mr J is about a serious topic, bullying in an extreme form. Was it hard to write about it and what inspired you to write about this?

All the episodes of bullying were inspired by events I’d seen, experienced, heard or read about. Bullying never goes away, does it? I’m sure even cavekids were at it. And I think with the advent of cyber bullying, it comes home too. Reading about teenagers who’d committed suicide after being targeted online horrified me and made me realise it’s an even bigger problem than when I was young. I did cyber awareness training through work and was completely shocked how trolling has become embedded in teenagers’ lives in such a comparatively short space of time. As Lara says in the book, it’s like having your bully’s beady eyes mounted on the wall of your bedroom.

3) Some of the scenes made me cry, did you feel like that when you wrote about Lara?

Yes, definitely. I think she needed to be having a terrible time generally in order for the plot to develop. If her mum hadn’t worked for Molly’s parents; if her cousin hadn’t moved away; if her dad wasn’t having financial problems… then she probably wouldn’t have got involved with Mr J. It had to be a kind of “perfect storm” of circumstances that led her to throw rationality out of the window. Poor girl, she had a terrible time. I think that’s why it was important to keep her sense of humour. I wanted to show she wasn’t being ground down.

4) Mr J is that kind teacher who wants to make the world a better place, but somehow it doesn't work out, why do you think that is?

I don’t personally know anyone who has been in a teacher/student relationship but with Mr J, I wanted to present someone well-meaning who makes a massive mistake. He confuses compassion with something more and then when Lara’s at a low ebb, he has a bit too much to drink and it tips his judgment. He makes a huge error and deservedly pays for it.

5) What kind of advice do you/would you give girls like Lara?

a) If you have to keep a relationship hidden, then you almost certainly shouldn’t be in it.

b) TELL SOMEONE. You really shouldn’t keep things to yourself. Bullies are never as powerful as you think. There is ALWAYS a way out, even if you can’t see it.

6) Me and Mr J makes the reader have conflicting emotions, was this intentional?

Yes, definitely. I didn’t want to write anything too predictable and I think the thing that’s shocked me most is reader reactions to the ending. I was prepared for people to find it a difficult topic. I was very prepared for the knee jerky “you can’t write about this!” outrage. BUT what I wasn’t prepared for was the number of people who wanted there to be a happy ever after. I guess in every book, there’s a head ending and a heart ending and when they’re in conflict, that makes for an interesting-if unsettling-read.

7) I think your book shows young girls who are desperate for a little bit of love and care what could happen to them and what the consequences are, but it also shows parents that they should pay attention to their children. The story never becomes moralistic, it's actually the complete opposite which for me is one of the reasons that the book is so good. Was it hard to write it like this?

Yes. I knew writing the whole book from Lara’s perspective would be controversial. But I didn’t want to patronise the readers or be the morality police. Everyone knows it’s wrong, it’s illegal for a start! So going into it with that as a given, I wanted to show how it might happen. We all know it shouldn’t but the newspaper stories show us that it does and that’s what I wanted to explore: why a girl would get involved in a situation that could only have an unhappy ending.

Lara’s dad is based on mine. Unfortunately, my dad was unable to overcome his demons and died young. In giving Lara’s dad a happy ending, I was definitely re-writing my own dad’s story. Lara’s parents aren’t there for her because she’s always been such a good girl. She’s done well at school and not caused them any bother. And because she’s a nice girl, she doesn’t want to burden her family with more problems. It’s a mistake and it makes things worse, but it’s easy to understand why she does it. She suffers in silence because she doesn’t want them to have more to worry about.

8) What are your 3 favourite YA books?

Ooooh. Tough!

Of all time, the Adrian Mole books.

In recent years, I like everything Sarah Dessen writes and I loved “Stolen” by Lucy Christopher.

9) What are your plans for the future?

Keep writing books that deal with difficult topics! You know what I love? When readers tell me how they read the book in one sitting. So, to keep doing that would be amazing.

Thank you so much Suze!

Amazon USA Amazon UK

Giveaway

Rachel McIntyre has sent me a signed copy of Me & Mr J to give away to one very lucky reader of my blog. Enter the giveaway and good luck!

  I will contact the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international.   

Review: The Secrets Sisters Keep by Sinéad Moriarty

The Devlin sisters rely on each other - but some things are just too painful to share, even when your sisters are your best friends...

Mum-of-four Julie thought that if her family had more money, life would be easier. But now that they've inherited a fortune, her problems are only starting. Lawyer Louise is used to having life go exactly as she wants it to. So accepting that she cannot control the most important thing in her life is beyond her. And former model Sophie can just about cope with getting older - that's until her ex-husband finds a younger model.

All three women think that some battles are best fought alone. Maybe they need to think again...

Amazon USA Amazon UK

Review by Suze

Julie, Louise and Sophie are sisters, but they're also friends.

Julie is a stay at home mother, she has a big family with four sons. She has triplets and they are quite a handful. There's always trouble, but they're also great kids and Julie loves them very much. Her youngest son is the complete opposite, he's a lot easier to handle. Julie always thought life would be better when they'd have more money, but now that they are rich because of an inheritance she finds life lonely and difficult. She doesn't fit in with the other rich mothers at her sons' school and her husband is never home anymore, because he's too busy investing his money. Julie needs change, but will she look for it in the right places?

Louise is a successful lawyer who has a fantastic career. She has the perfect life. She likes being single and doesn't need a partner to be happy. She has a sweet daughter who is everything to her. Combining her job with being a mother is easy, she has everything under control. She thinks her daughter is a little genius, she's brilliant and she's also very sweet. Louise can give her daughter everything she missed in her own childhood, she understands her so well. She's the perfect mother of the perfect little girl. Are things really going that well though or is there something going on that she doesn't see?

Sophie is lonely. Her daughter favors her ex-husband's new love. Sophie isn't the cool mother any longer and her daughter isn't very nice to her. She constantly has to fight the influence the new girlfriend has on her daughter's life. Sophie misses having a husband and she's insecure about her looks. She used to be a model and she was always gorgeous, but she can no longer compete with women who are younger and prettier and that makes her feel inadequate. Sophie knows that the girlfriend isn't as wonderful and friendly as she appears to be and she's afraid her daughter will get hurt. What about Sophie though, will she be able to handle more heartbreak and how far will she go to fix herself so she will look pretty again?

Julie, Louise and Sophie have very different personalities. They are sisters, but they all have their own characteristics. I liked that a lot about this story. They all have their good and bad sides. I love books about sisters and really enjoyed The Secrets Sisters Keep. It's a great story about love, loss and facing your problems. Each sister is going through a difficult phase and they will come out stronger because they have each other. I liked that idea very much. I think Sinéad Moriarty describes difficult emotional situations in such an understanding and respectful way. Each sister's story is moving and fascinating at the same time. I liked the switch between the sisters and every chapter is fantastic. This book has so many strengths, I think it's amazing. 
 

Giveaway: Blue Real Flower Window Locket Necklace


Enter this giveaway to win a blue flower window locket necklace made by Villa Sorgenfrei. Good luck!

 I will contact the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international.   

Hop: Sign Up For The July New Release Giveaway Hop!


You can sign up now for the July New Release Giveaway Hop! This hop will be hosted by me and Shannon from It Starts at Midnight.

Sign up because it's fun to host a giveaway together with other bloggers. You can attract new followers and readers by signing up. This hop is very active and there are plenty of readers who absolutely love it. Hops generate a lot of extra traffic and the people who like your blog will keep following it which means you can increase your audience.

Rules:
 
This giveaway hop is especially for books that will be released in July 2015.

  1. The prize has to be a book that has been published in July 2015, both ebooks and paperbacks are allowed.
  2. You can also give away additional items like bookmarks, gift cards, etc. as an extra prize.
  3. Don't use too many entries. I won't be really strict, but keep it easy for people to enter.
  4. Please be clear if you will be sending worldwide or not. Put it in the linky, so people will know. As you can send books via the Bookdepository for free, it would be great if you could send worldwide.
  5. Add the linky to your blog post ( I will send all the necessary information to you by email a few days before the start of the hop ).
  6. Please keep this hop family friendly. 
7. Have fun as that's the best part of hops! 


Jun 29, 2015

Review: Third Time Lucky: The Honey Trap by Victoria Browne

A fast moving witty chick lit drama that will take you on a journey of laughter and revelations.

Good friends Sarah a sensible simple soul, Laura bitchy complicated, Beth a ‘too cool for school’ high school teacher, and Jess a funky hairdresser, decide to honey trap Jess's new American boyfriend Richard. How could such a simple plan go wrong? Just add Jess’s new flat mate, hot sexy Elise to the mix, a few glasses of wine and you have a cocktail fit for disaster – especially when Elise honey traps the wrong boyfriend! Good friends are all Sarah needs when her uncomplicated life is jettisoned into chaos.

Dan, Sarah’s boyfriend makes some shady life choices. But who is friend and who is foe?

Wealthy bachelor Lee Preston sets his sights on Sarah and all Lee wants is to make her happy. Life could be fantastic when money is no object and your closet is filled with designer shoes, Oh, and his with secrets. 
Amazon USA Amazon UK

Review by Tanya
The title Third Time Lucky: The Honey Trap gives you some idea of what the story is about. Sarah is living with her long term boyfriend Dan and life is getting predictable and mundane, however she does not know what to do about it. She works in a furniture store with one of her friends, Laura, who seems to think that Dan is boring and that consequently Sarah is boring when he's around. Their other close friends are Jess, a hairdresser and Beth a high school teacher who enjoys a good time. At a party at Jess’s flat the girls plan with her new flatmate to let her set up Honey Trap for Jesse’s new boyfriend Richard to check if he is suitable. This is where things go wrong.

As a consequence of the honey trap and other knock on effects Sarah ends up leaving her job and her home with Dan. She's moving in with Beth. During this period a man called Lee begins to show her attention...
I really like the three girls Sarah, Beth and Jess and the relationship that they have. From the beginning I had my doubts about Lee and Dan but couldn’t decide which of them was the worst. Maybe Lee behaved the way he did because he wanted what was best for Sarah!
The book covers betrayal and love, but also how friends can be the best help. It teaches you about being strong in a bad situation and trying to do your best. I was so pleased that Sarah found her way. I enjoyed reading this book, the story is well written and the majority of the characters are likeable.

Giveaway: Candy Jar Necklace & Matching Earrings


Enter this giveaway to win a candy jar necklace and matching earrings. Good luck!

 I will contact the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international.   

Etsy: Suze Loves Pomme De Neige! & Giveaway


I love Pomme de Neige. Every item in this shop is beautiful and classy.


I can't stop admiring the gorgeous polymer clay and epoxy resin designs. 


 The jewelry is versatile and made with love and attention.


It's possible to buy individual pieces, but a lot of the items are also available in sets. I think it's great that there's an option to buy matching jewelry.


Behind this pretty jewelry are two creators. Lana and Alice are running the shop together.


I really like their beautiful photos and that it's possible to see the details of the items so well.


I love the combination of fruit and flowers.


Pomme de Neige's statement jewelry is both elegant and stylish.


The collection is both accessible and unique.


I admire the bold colors and the sweetness of the pieces at the same time.


Lana and Alice have such great taste.


Their pieces are works of art.


The details are amazing.


Lana and Alice are always happy to make something entirely according to your wishes. They take custom orders, so don't hesitate to contact them.


Check out this fantastic store.


Enjoy browsing...


And have fun shopping!


One very lucky reader of my blog will receive a fantastic prize:


A stunning blue rose necklace will be for the winner of this giveaway. Good luck!

 I will contact the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international.    

Review: Berlin Coffee Shop - Episode 1 by Gerlis Zillgens

Follow Sandra and friends as they navigate life, love, and their late-twenties in Germany's hip Berlin.

In this episode, Sandra, a self-employed "finder of things," is in urgent need of a "real" office. Her parents have suddenly appeared on her doorstep and want to see the workspace they've so generously funded. What they don't know, is that Sandra's "office" is just a table in Captain's café "Coffee Shop" and she has used their money for other purposes.

Nils brainstorms a quick fix: how about staging her best friend, Claudi's apartment? There's just one problem standing in the way: Claudi's landlord. Things only take a turn for the worse when Captain tosses her and the Doric columns out of the coffee shop. Once again, Nils has a solution: the key to Captain's storeroom.

The Coffee Shop - a cozy café in Germany's capital, Berlin - just happens to be the best office in the world. From here, Sandra practices her quirky trade as a "finder-of things." She caters to customers who have lost or want to find something that's missing from their lives. Doric Colums as an engagement gift? Check. Missing childhood photos? Done. But in her quest to grant other people's wishes, Sandra suddenly finds herself in search of her own happiness - and of herself. Toss in a dead goose, and it's the perfect recipe for romantic disaster.

Berlin Coffee Shop is a new digital serial novel for fans of "Sex and the City," "Friends," and "How I met your Mother." The story is told in six parts, as each novella builds upon the next. Berlin Coffee Shop is produced by German publishing house, Bastei Luebbe in cooperation with TV production company Saxonia Media GmbH. 

Amazon USA Amazon UK

Review by Suze

Sandra has her own business, she finds things for people. If they have a wish, she tracks it down. That basically means she sometimes has to work and the rest of the time she spends in The Coffee Shop. The Coffee Shop in Berlin's owner, Captain, frequently hires a different Sweetie (handsome waiters, selected because of their looks, who will only stay for a short time) to serve both the customers and himself. Sandra's best female friend is Claudi, who describes everything that happens to her on social media. Sandra's male best friend Nils is a student, but he's also Sandra's assistant. That basically means they're hanging out together in Captain's coffee shop until there's a job to be done.

When Sandra's parents are visiting Berlin Sandra needs an office. Her parents are financing her company and she has to show them that she's a professional. When Claudi is stuck in public traffic the perfect opportunity arises. Claudi's apartment will become Sandra's office for the duration of her parents' visit. Together with Nils Sandra manages to convince her parents that Claudi's apartment is in fact her office. Her parents have big plans though, plans that might get Sandra in trouble even more...

Berlin Coffee Shop is hilarious. I frequently laughed out loud while I was reading this first part of the series. The setting is brilliant and the characters are all fantastic. I loved how Sandra keeps getting in trouble with her parents. She was digging a hole for herself that became deeper and deeper. It was really funny. Nils is always there to help her and together they're going from one uneasy situation to the next. It's all deliciously shallow and comical. I can't wait to read the next part as I'd love to discover how they will manage to talk themselves out of another dire situation.

Giveaway: L'Occitane Hand Cream & Bath Cubes and Macaron - Eiffel Tower Earrings & Necklace


Enter this giveaway to win L'Occitane hand cream and bath cubes and a macaron Eiffel Tower necklace with matching earrings.

 I will contact the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international.   

Jun 28, 2015

Review: The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain

Bookseller Laurent Letellier comes across an abandoned handbag on a Parisian street and feels impelled to return it to its owner. The bag contains no money, phone or contact information. But a small red notebook with handwritten thoughts and jottings reveals a person that Laurent would very much like to meet. Without even a name to go on, and only a few of her possessions to help him, how is he to find one woman in a city of millions?
 
Amazon USA Amazon UK
 
Review by Suze
 
Laurent finds an abandoned handbag. He's an honest man and wants to return it to its rightful owner, but Paris is a big city and he has no idea where to find her. Laure has been mugged and the robber hit her on the head. She's in a coma because of the accident. As the robber hasn't left any of her contact information in the handbag Laurent doesn't know it's Laure's bag he's found.
 
 There are several personal belongings in the bag and Laurent tries to find out more about the identity of the owner of the handbag through them. One of the items is a red notebook. Laurent starts reading it to find clues. Will he be able to find enough clues to find Laure? And will she survive the attack?
 
The Red Notebook is such a wonderful, romantic story. Of course Paris is a great setting. Laurent is a bookseller and I could totally picture him in his shop. I also liked the idea that he would go through so much trouble to find out more about the owner of an abandoned handbag. I loved the mystery aspect of it. 

Antoine Laurain has captured the beauty and atmosphere of Paris so perfectly. Not only through the descriptions of the city, but also because of his main characters. The bookseller, the gilders, the quirky author and the bold daughter. Everything is exactly right, I could almost taste the food from the pages and feel what Laurent and Laure were feeling. The Red Notebook is the perfect book to read on a bench in a beautiful Parisian park (closing your eyes for a minute and pretend will also work). I love this book so much, I will read it over and over again.

Giveaway: Green Leaf Necklace


Enter this giveaway to win a green leaf necklace made by Red Oak Images. The necklace has been made with an original photograph. Good luck!

  I will contact the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international.    

Review: Summer of the Oak Moon by Laura Templeton

 Rejected by the exclusive women’s college she has her heart set on, Tess Seibert dreads the hot, aimless summer ahead. But when a chance encounter with a snake introduces her to Jacob Lane, a black college student home on his summer break, a relationship blooms that challenges the prejudices of her small, north Florida town.

When Jacob confesses that Tess’s uncle is trying to steal his family’s land, Tess comes face to face with the hatred that simmers just below the surface of the bay and marshes she’s loved since birth. With the help of her mentor Lulu, an herbal healer, Tess pieces together clues to the mysterious disappearance of Jacob’s father twenty-two years earlier and uncovers family secrets that shatter her connection to the land she loves.

Tess and Jacob’s bond puts them both in peril, and discontent eventually erupts into violence. Tess is forced to make a decision. Can she right old wrongs and salvage their love? Or will prejudice and hatred kill any chance she and Jacob might have had?

Summer Of the Oak Moon is a stunning Southern historical that takes place in the 1980's.
 
Amazon USA Amazon UK
 
Review by Anniek
 
Tess is a young girl who is thinking about her future. Her mom is pushing her to apply to colleges but Tess rather spends her time in her little canoe on the water. Even though she has many discussions with her mother Tess has a strong bond with both of her parents. She is sweet, caring and helps people with whatever they need. She has a dear friend named Lulu. Lulu lives in the marshes. She teaches Tess about herbs, so she knows how to use them and which magical powers they have. Tess makes lotions, perfume, bath salts and other beauty products with the herbs she gets from Lulu and herbs she grows in her own garden. She is very successful.
 
One day Tess gets bitten by a snake and Jacob comes to her rescue. He gets her to the hospital and a friendship is born. Jacob is a little bit older than Tess. He is back home because of his summer break from college. He is a sweetheart and he's helping his mother around the house since his father disappeared so many years ago. Tess an Jacob fall in love, but in their small town people are not fond of interracial relationships. They have to cope with racism and they aren't always safe. Tess's uncle is a very important person in their town and he is also a racist. This doesn't help with getting justice for the wrongs that are being done.
 
Summer of the Oak Moon grabbed me and didn't let me go. I hate racism and this book got me to tears when reading about all the horrible things that people can do to another human being. While I was reading the lyrics of one song popped into my mind all the time. It is a song called Close your Eyes by Meghan Trainor. She sings:

'Everybody's born to be different. That's the one thing that makes us the same.'
 
 Summer of the Oak Moon has a clear message; live positive, listen to your heart and don't let negative people have the influence to change the good in you. The story inspires me to be the best person I can be every single day.

Giveaway: L'Occitane Lip Balm & Hand Cream and Yellow Macaron Necklace


Enter this giveaway to win L'Occitane hand cream and lip balm and a yellow macaron necklace! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
   I will contact the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international.    

Jun 27, 2015

Giveaway: L'Occitane Lip Balm & Hand Cream and Macaron Necklace


Enter this giveaway to win L'Occitane hand cream and lipbalm and a pink macaron necklace. Good luck!

   I will contact the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international.    

Jun 26, 2015

Suze Loves Artsome Boutique! & Giveaway


I love Artsome Boutique


It's such a romantic shop filled with the most beautiful polymer clay jewelry.


The owner, Irena, is a graphic designer who is addicted to polymer clay.


I love her use of colors and the way she presents her jewelry.


Irena has a stunning collection of rose jewelry. 


Her pieces would be perfect for every romantic situation.


She combines her designs with amazing photos, which makes her shop a joy to look at.


Irena's eye for composition is a big strength of her work.


I think her jewelry looks amazing.


It's also very reasonably priced.


Which makes her shop the ideal place for bridesmaid jewelry and gifts for yourself or someone you love.


Irena is very friendly and helpful.


She loves making custom orders, so don't hesitate to contact her if you want something to be made especially for you.


Irena has a second Etsy shop where she offers photo restoration services, the results are fantastic.


I think Irena's a very talented artist.


Irena can make you a custom art doll together with a wonderful home and accessories. I really like this idea.


These earrings are gorgeous and so is the photo behind it which is one of Irena's restored works.


For fans of Halloween, there's a marvellous collection of different pumpkin earrings.


Check out this amazing store.


Have fun browsing...


And enjoy shopping!


One very lucky reader of my blog will receive an amazing prize:


This gorgeous rose ring will be for the winner of the giveaway, good luck!

  I will contact the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international.    
 
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