My Top Ten Favorite Books

Challenge Accepted:
A fellow blogger challenged me to list my top ten favorite books.  It's a hard list to make, but I'm going to try with all my heart to put together some of my top favorite books!  I'm going to try to be a tad versatile and really dig deep with this one!

The American Favs...
I am probably best known for my love of all things Irish / Uk chick lit.  However, I DO have some favorites that are American as well!

The Ex-Debutante
Linda Francis Lee writes quintessential southern royalty type chick-lit.  Her characters are so fun, yet are in a totally different income bracket as myself and I personally haven't experienced the same southern life as her characters, but it's fun to delve into the "Southern High-Society" and escape my own existence for a period!

The Fixer Upper
Mary Kay Andrews

Mary Kay Andrews is one of my all time favorite authors, it doesn't hurt that she's a southern girl.  But her books are truly, truly delightful.  She has such a fun sense of humor and her characters are always flawed in some way, which I always love!
The Fixer Upper was one of the first books I read and I loved the whole "restoration" aspect to the storyline.  Mary Kay Andrews is always a go-to author for me!

The One & Only: A Novel

I LOVE Emily Giffin, she's definitely an all time favorite "Chick-Lit" author for me.  I first read "Something Borrowed", long before it became a movie.  Most of her books have been around big cities, but I liked the southern "small-town" setting and of course the predominance that SEC football played in her newest book, "The One & Only", being from the south College Football is our life.  It's in our blood.  I'm from Alabama, where you must declare a side at birth:  University of Alabama aka. Roll TIDE or Auburn aka War Eagle.  I am on the ROLL TIDE side, the WINNERS side....

Best Friends Forever: A Novel
Jennifer Weiner

Jennifer Weiner is another American author I discovered shortly after my love affair with all things chick lit started.  All of her books are so different, and yet all told with a wonderful sense of humor.  In " Best Friends Forever", we have two friends who have been seperated by time and distance suddenly reunited when once friend suddenly has a HUGE favor to ask.  It's a story about how old wounds sometimes take a long time to heal, and how we can unknowingly be hurtful to those who we are supposed to be closest to.  Jennifer Weiner is a truly talented author.

Notable Mentions:
These are some authors that are not quite as well known, but that I've recently read and discovered to be little hidden gems.  Their work truly is on par with the big boy's and I truly have high hopes that other's will discover these fabulous authors!

 The Dating Mr Darcy Trilogy: Prada and Prejudice / Love and Liability / Mansfield Lark
Katie Oliver

So, I haven't read this particular book, but chose it because had it been available when I purchased "Prada and Prejudice", I definitely would have picked this.  It contains three of Ms. Oliver's books.  I have only  had the chance to read "Prada and Prejudice", but I can tell you that she definitely has a fun and witty rapport.  I have the other two on my "must read" list.  I'll probably end up buying the triology when I go to buy another book!  When I first read Katie Oliver, I have to admit, I thought she was another of my new fav UK authors, I was DELIGHTED to discover that nope, she's an US girl too!  I get really excited to find new American authors who are up an coming and Katie Oliver definitely is one to watch!

Pie Girls
Lauren Clark

I recently did a review on Pie Girls.  I luckily stumbled across another blogger who was highlighting Miss Clark, and when I discovered that she was a Bama/ Dixie girl like me, I had to give her a go!  This was a really fun book!  A book about a small town girl turned BIG city girl turned small town girl again.  LOL It was a really fun southern chick-lit read.  I also have her other book Dancing Naked in Dixie and was working on reading it, when I had some other books come in that I had promised to review.  I do have it still beside me waiting and calling for me to open it back up.....  I also purchased another one of her books,Stay Tuned that is currently awaiting me on my Kindle!  Lauren Clark is a mixture of Mary Kay Andrews mixed in with a little bit of Linda Francis Lee.  I really hope that she can find some mainstream success in the world of Chick-Lit!  One of the benefits to us readers for these unfound treasures, is we can find these books at a STEAL of a price!  I believe, the most expensive book is only $2.99!!!!  NOT BAD AT ALL, even a poor girl from Bama like me can afford them prices.

Over the Seas Favs....
So, anyone whom has read any of my posts, I'm certain is aware of my fascination bordering on obsession with all things UK and Irish chick lit.  I love the style writing of these delightful authors!  

 Practically Perfect: A Novel
Katie Fforde

If I'm being honest, Katie Fforde all of Katie Fforde books are my favorites, so choosing just one is a hard task.  However, I decided to choose Practically Perfect, as it's one I haven't really talked much about.  All of Katie Fforde books have a theme of friendship, and starting over and restoration.
In Practically Perfect, we meet Anna an interior designer, whom has just purchased a ramshackle of a home and is in the process of restoring it on her own.  It's got Katie Fforde's signature style and warmth that fills each and every of her books!  You could play the enimanyminimo game with your eyes closed picking one of her books, and it's still going to be a great selection!  She's definitely on my top five list of ALL TIME favorite authors!

 Miranda's Big Mistake
Jill Mansell

Another of my all time favorites, there were many books I could have chosen.  I would have chosen Solo, the book I just read by Jill Mansell, but as it's not available on Kindle at present, I thought I'd give my readers a quick option!  Miranda's Big Mistake is about Miranda a girl who works in a salon and is always giving stuff away.  Unbeknownst to Miranda she unwittingly finds that her generosity has garnered the attention of a local documentary.  The story is filled with Jill Mansell's humor and her lovely characters she always seems to be able to create.  She's brilliant at creating worlds in which we would all love to submerse ourselves in.

White Wedding
Milly Johnson

I could have chosen any of Milly Johnson's wonderful stories, however I chose White Wedding, because it truly is one of my favorites.  All of Milly Johnson's books have beautiful friendship based themes in idyllic type surroundings.  White Wedding is about three strangers who meet and bond at a local wedding shop.  Each with their own stories and their own drama filled lives, we get to experience and learn of each one of these women lives.  I love Milly Johnson's style of writing.  All of her books, I'm barely able to pull myself away and find myself immersed inside the world she creates.

A Place to Call Home
Carole Matthews

Recently, I reviewed this book, and it truly is a fantastic read.  A bit on the heavier side than most chick-lit.  Carole Matthews still was able to mix a heavy subject with some lighthearted fun.  She so expertly created a wonderful balance with no minimizing the seriousness of the subject at hand, but also maintaining the light air feel that we find ourselves drawn to the world of chick-lit.  In A Place to Call Home, we are met with issues of domestic violence and starting over.  While it's a fictional tale, it's one that unfortunately rings true for far too many women.  Carole Matthews did an excellent job of mixing the two worlds together.

Notable Mentions:
These are a couple of other favorites, that I wanted to definitely include!!

Moody not Broody: to breed or not to breed? THAT is the question.
Kathryn Player

This is another independent author, that I recently discovered through Twitter.  This is Kathryn Player's debut novel and it was definitely a HILARIOUS one!  In Moody not Broody we meet a wonderful cast of characters who are all mostly teachers.  Emma, our heroine of the story, has been married for a year and suddenly feels suffocated by the realization that her husband expects babies.  The story is all about her NOT wanting a baby and delivers us some hilarious scenes!  It's such a fun book and I really recommend it to those who love a good humorous book!  This book had me doubling over laughing!

Things We Never Say
Sheila O'Flanagan

This was truly a wonderful story.  I've read a few of Sheila O'Flanagan's books and they always manage to capture my attention and keep me unable to do anything until I've devoured every word.
Ms. O'Flanagan is an Irish Best Selling author, so she's not an independent author, but she's not quite as well known in the states, although she truly needs to be!  If you ever have a chance to pick up on of her books, I strongly urge you to do so!!

Most of these books are available for download on Kindle.  However, there may be a couple that have to be ordered and shipped from overseas.  I hope that you've enjoyed my TOP TEN list, I would love to hear back from you and find out what you love to read!!  There are so many talented authors and this list in no way encompasses all of the authors I truly love and admire!

Let me know your favorites!

Book Review: Lynda Renham's "The Dog's Bollock's"

The Dog's Bollocks (Formerly Titled:  The Valentine Present & Other Diabolical Liberties)

I have seen Lynda Renham's books before on Amazon in my quest for ALL things UK !  I have even purchased a book previously ( Pink Wellies and Flat Caps - A Romantic Comedy ), and am sad to say that I never had taken the time to read it.  I had read the sample portion, but as anyone whom has read this blog previously knows, I have a really serious ADD issue that honestly hinders my ability to focus at times.  I get so easily sidetracked, which has made being a consistent blogger a bit of a challenge for me.  Honestly, consistency in anything is a tad bit of a problem for me.  ANYWAY.......

The fact that I didn't read Pink Wellies and Flat Caps - A Romantic Comedy has nothing at all to do with my Lynda Renham's talent as a writer, just my own failure as a reader.  OK, so onto the book I HAVE read to completion.

I won an original copy (The Valentine Present & Other Diabolical Liberties- hereinafter called The Dog's Bollocks.) through her launch of her newest book Rory's Proposal (A Romantic Comedy) event that she recently held on Facebook.  I was so excited to win, and even more excited to read this book.  I sometimes do better with physical books, versus Kindle editions for some reason.

In The Dog's Bollocks, we have a truly fun cast of characters.  Even the villains (The "Jacks') are deliciously fun!  Our heroine of the story is Harriet, currently employed at the local laundrette, but with ambitions of being a certified nurse.  In the opening of the story we meet Julian and the "Valentine's (the Jacks').  Right away we see that Julian is in a spot of trouble with the notorious "Jacks".  It seems that Julian took out a loan and was also paying for "protection" for his French restaurant.

Harriet, who is completely oblivious to Julian's troubles, is waiting for Julian at a wedding.  Of course, he never appears, because he has fled as far as possible now fearing for his life. At this wedding Harriet encounters two tall dark and handsome men.  Brice, whom Harriet feels an instant attraction to; as well as Hamilton whom Harriet feels an instant disliking.  Harriet seems to have made an impression on both young men.

Harriet, and her best friend Fiona and Fiona's boyfriend (with a terrible stuttering problem), Alistair find Harriet's apartment ransacked and no sign of Harriet's boyfriend Julian.  When Harriet, finally does reach Julian she finds that all of her money as well as her van she signed for have been taken by the Jacks' and finds that she's now in massive debt and must find a sum of nearly 50,000 pounds to get herself out of debt and to pay of Julian's debts to keep all of his limbs intact.

An Indecent Proposal of Sorts:

Meanwhile Hamilton, one of the tall dark and handsome men from the wedding, is having his own crisis.  It seems his grandmother is dying and is about to cut he and his family out of her will.  Margarita (Hamilton's grandmother) seems to not be so fond of Hamilton's current choice of future bride.  Out of desperation to save his inheritance he tells an outrageous lie that he has met and is soon to be married to another woman.  Desperate times and all that he finds himself remembering that girl from the wedding.  He then goes to make her an offer she cannot refuse.

This offer begins a week full of hijinks, drama and fun.  This literally was a non-stop comedic ride!

The Characters:

This book was told with such fun humor and in such a way that I honestly could envision the whole thing as a movie.  It was one thing after another.

You have Harriet and Julian who are currently in "it" deep, Hamilton and his snobbery of a family, Fiona and Alistair (the bumbbbbling mess at times), and The Jacks'.  Ms. Renham truly created a wonderful group of characters who were fun to get to know and to go on their crazy wild week with them.

Ms. Renham was so perfectly adept at creating such vivid imagery in the reader's minds it was easy to imagine it all in my head and seeing it come to life.  It's not often in any book I read where I envision the whole plot as a movie, but I truly did with this book!

This was a definite winner!  A big huge 5 STARS!!  ***** I honestly can't wait to read my next Lynda Renham book!

Buy the Book:

This book, as well as all of Lynda Renham's book are available for a low price on Amazon Kindle!  Starting at $1.59 - $4.99, her books are definitely affordable whatever your budget!  I urge my readers to give this comedic author a shot and just try one of her books!  If you like comedy, I promise you will love her books!!

The Dog's BoIIocks (A Romantic Comedy) $3.49 on Kindle

Rory's Proposal (A Romantic Comedy) $4.99 on Kindle (This is her most recently published book!)

Pink Wellies and Flat Caps - A Romantic Comedy  $1.49 on Kindle

To Connect to Author Lynda Renham:

Lynda Renham's Event" Fun Page"

On Twitter

Have you read any of Ms. Renham's book?  Do you enjoy humorous fiction, if so which is your favorite??

Thanks so much for taking time to read my review of "The Dog's Bollocks".  I hope you enjoyed it and I hope you will consider giving it a try!  Thanks again!  Until next time!!!

Don't forget to enter my giveaway!

Link to: Lavender/ English Rose Giveaway
(I also have a giveaway on my Sassy Gal Beauty site!)
Sassy Gal Beauty: IG 500 Follower GA

** Please note:  All of the winner's entries will be validated.  So please, if you do not wish to participate in a task, just skip it!  Not all tasks are mandatory!!  Only liking my FB page is mandatory, all other entries are completely optional.

Lavender / English Rose Giveaway

Lavender / English Rose Giveaway

I enjoyed my last giveaway so much, I decided maybe to do another one!!  This contest IS open to international.  However, if the winner is not in US, they will receive a $10 GC to either Amazon or Book Depository (My Choice).  This is not a sponsored giveaway, but a giveaway that I, myself am paying for.  I love my international friends and fellow bloggers, however, due to the expenses of last international giveaway, I cannot afford to ship internationally.  In the event the winner is international, I will then choose another winner for the physical prize.  

US PRIZE:  (1)  Gift Basket containing Lavender Sachet's PLUS (1) Book by Donna Kauffman: The Black Sheep & The English Rose

Thanks for entering!  AND GOOD LUCK!

Giveaway:  8/24 - 8/31

REVIEW: The Unpredictable Consequences of Love by: Jill Mansell

The Unpredictable Consequences of Love
The Unpredictable Consequences of Love
 By Jill Mansell

Jill Mansell is among my all time favorite authors.  She is at the top of the league in what she does.  I absolutely adore her quirky characters, she has a way of making them each come to life.  I love how the women in her books tend to be strong characters, while not perfect, they usually have a very good sense of self.  When reading a Jill Mansell book I become transfixed, I feel as if I'm part of the book.  Another character on the sidelines watching the drama unfolw.

When I read books by Miss Mansell, I envision these quaint little villages nestled among beautiful rolling green hills (maybe I have England confused with like Ireland or something, please forgive me as I've never traveled abroad and only have my imagination or films to give me my imagery).  I even created a Pinterest board to make these places come to life even more for myself.

Unpredictable Consequences of Love is Jill Mansell's newest novel.  It felt like ages waiting for it to arrive from the UK!  I so desperately wanted to sink my teeth in!!

In "Consequences", the story is set in the  beautiful seaside town of St.Cary's.  Like most of Jill Mansell's books there are a wonderful array of characters within the pages.  The story mainly seems to be surrounding a family hotel.  The hotel run by Josh and his grandmothe (Dot), is the backdrop for a lot of the drama that unfolds within the book.

Josh has just recently returned to St. Cary's leaving the exciting world as "Rockstar Manager".  Being fired by the up and coming band he had helped to nourish and help them to rise their star, he's a bit on the tense side and doesn't seem all that happy to be back in St. Cary's.

Josh is immediately taken with Sophie Wells, a local and independent photographer, and is completely taken back by Sophie's seemingly indifference to his pursuits.  Josh, whom isn't quite used to women turning him down, becomes a tad obsessed with Sophie and feels that there is more than meets the eye.

Sophie Wells who is determined to remain single for the rest of her remaining days,is at first able to resist Josh's persistence.  However, after awhile, she finds her resistence starting to slip.  However, Sophie's past keeps her from giving in and continues to shoot Josh down at every turn.  

Tula, Sophie's closest friend, finds herself without a job and comes to St. Cary's to find work.  She soon finds employment at Josh's family hotel.  While Sophie is adamant to resist Josh's advances, Tula finds herself captivated by the young hotel owner.  She has a desperate crush, that is unfortunately not reciprocated.  Instead Tula has meanwhile caught the eye of local "playboy" Riley.  Tula fines Riley, however handsome, not a boy to be taken seriously.  She wants a man with ambition and Riley is seriously lacking.

I know, I could just keep going about these wonderfully delicious characters and their plots.  Jill Mansell knows how to juggle multiple characters simultaneously and how to weave their stories together so they fit like a perfectly made quilted blanket.

This story has a perfect love triangle.  Riley who wants Tula, Tula who wants Josh, Josh who wants Sophie and Sophie who wants...  Well Sophie wants no one.  There's something in Sophie's past that has paralyzed Sophie emotionally.

It's been a little over a week since I read this book.  Yet, the details and all the drama just keeps flooding back and I can still feel the excitement I felt when I read and page by page was immersed inside the lives of Sophie, Josh, Tula, Riley, Dot, Marguerite (Riley's aunt who is also a famous best selling author), and Josh's grandfather.
There are so many layers to this story, it's like peeling back an onion only to discover yet another added layer.  Jill Mansell created such a wonderful cast of characters with a deliciously juicy storyline.  This is what keeps her among my favorites.  I laughed, I cried, I got mad.  This book will make you feel every emotion possible.  This is a definite read for ANY chick-lit fan!!!

DEFINITE FIVE STARS!!! ***** 5 STARS LOL!  This book was definitely worth the wait!!

To Connect with Jill Mansell:  Jill Mansell on Twitter       Jill Mansell on FB

To Purchase: The Unpredictable Consequences of Love

Book Review: Katie Fforde The Perfect Match

Katie Fforde:  The Perfect Match
Another fabulous read, from one of UK's premier authors!

Anyone who knows me, knows that I'm addicted.  TO UK Chick lit!  I know I must sound like a broken record on repeat, going on and on about the fabulousness that is UK Literature.  As most of my readers know, I am a recovering addict.  I spent eight years fighting for custody of my children and to be honest finding authors such as Katie Fforde, truly helped me to escape the pain I was dealing with on a personal level.  

The unique sense of humor, the cozy warm feeling I get opening one of Ms. Ffforde's books, is so unlike anything I've read from the US.  I always describe Katie Fforde's books like a warm, cozy blanket you can snuggle up with.  It makes me feel safe.  Like the world is a good place and everyone can have their happy ending, if they choose to.


I am proud to say, I have now read EVERY book to date written by Ms. Ffforde.  Most of her books I've read twice and some even three times.  And believe me, I usually am not a person who can re-read a book. There are times, no matter how brilliant the book I just can't seem to "get into it" and yet I'm dying to read to be taken to another time and place and that's when I turn to Katie Fforde. No matter how many times I've read Restoring Grace or Flora's Lot, I can always count on them to take me to a whole other world filled with possibility and hope.

In "The Perfect Match" we fall in love with our heroine, "Bella Castle", an estate agent who has escaped a heartache and moved in with her godmother.  Bella has now been with her boyfriend, Nevil (also her boss) for I believe two years (I'm crap at remembering details).  Bella is pretty satisfied with her life, she loves her job, she adores sharing house with her godmother, and she loves her friends.

However, things turn upside down.  One day while visiting a friend / client, Bella encounters the past she thought she had fleed so long ago.  Now the past is standing right in front of her.  Dominic, while not exactly an ex, is definitely an old flame.  With Dominique back on the scene, and Nevil acting quite strange lately Bella's world is turned upside down and she doesn't know which way to go.

Nevil, Bella's boyfriend, has been more than a little preoccupied lately.  He's started having secretive phone calls, and spending weekend's "working" and being altogether unavailable.  Bella, who is quite an independent woman and doesn't really seem to be up for all that "neediness" that sometimes plagues us women, at first doesn't seem to notice anything amiss.  However, after a losing a potential sale and discovering a video that shows Nevil doing something mysterious and seemingly dodgy, Bella's interest and curiosities start to pique.  

Dominic, the man from Bella's mysterious past, seems to hold some sort of grudge against Bella.  Bella is baffled by his angry demeanor when they are reunited.  However, Bella can't help but be a tad bit of excitement at this unexpected reunion.  A little suspicious of Dominic's motives for moving in with his aunt, Mrs. Langley (One of Bella's customer's and dearest friends), Bella seems to have a range of conflicting emotions regarding Dominic.  It doesn't take us long to discover the past that has hung like a cloud over Bella for the last couple of years.

One of the things I love about Katie Fforde's book are her wonderfully delightful (sometimes undelightful) cast of characters.  She makes you feel as if you've stepped into another world and the pages come to life with her imagery and characters full of personality and sometimes charm, sometimes mischief.  The Perfect Match has some wonderful supporting characters.

With Alice, the godmother;  Michael, the mysterious gentleman caller and his LOVELY and suspicious daughter's; Mrs. Langley the customer who DOESN'T want to move; customer's who want their dream house on a cottage budget; the boyfriend up to no good; Dominic the man from Bella's mysterious past; and Bella the glue that holds it all together, Ms. Fforde has delivered us a juicy plot with lots of twists and turns and unexpected detours.  

This was one of those books that I had a hard time putting down, but I wanted to string it along as long as I could.  After all, when you've read all of your favorite authors' books you want to get every single drip out.  I have to say that Katie Fforde's book are always filled with hope.  There's always a morale that we can all be restored and no matter the age, there's always a chance at true love.

The Perfect Match was a perfect story.  I loved it all.  It was Katie Fforde excellence on every last page, every word.  I love the heroines in her stories, they always have you rooting for them.  Yet, she always has those parts that make you want to scream at them to WAKE UP! I enjoyed the mystery twist to this rom com!  It was part who dun it, part dramedy, part romance ALL perfectly delicious.  

This was a definite 5 Star book.  Katie Fforde is just a 5 Star author.  If you haven't ever read a Katie Fforde novel, I would urge you to do so.  When I first started reading Katie Fforde, it was a tad harder to get a copy of one of her book.  Now, though, with the magic and wonder that is Kindle, owning a Katie Fforde book is as easy as a couple clicks!

It was my love of Katie Fforde novels as well as a couple of other fantastic UK authors that was my inspiration to start blogging.  I want more readers in the US to discover the joy of reading a Katie Fforde novel.  While The Perfect Match isn't currently available on Kindle, there are a whole bunch of other Katie Fforde books available for usually around $7.59!  

Thanks so much for taking the time to read !  I hope that I can encourage at least one person to try a new author!!  She's absolutely fantastic!!

To Purchase Katie Fforde on Kindle:



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