Strawberries at Wimbledon by Nikki Moore #BookReview #MiniReview

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strawberries

Title: Strawberries at Wimbledon
Author: Nikki Moore
Series: Love London #5
Format: Kindle Edition, 40 pages
Publication Details: May 14th 2015 by HarperImpulse
Genre(s): Romance; Short Story/Novella
Disclosure? Nope! I bought it (even thought it was free!)

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The one that got away?

Sipping Pimms and eating fresh strawberries at Wimbledon are the perfect start to the British summer for Rayne. Immersed in her career as a journalist in the City, she’s been too busy and distracted to give men – or other outside interests – much of a chance lately. That’s something her friend Lily thinks she should correct, coming up with the perfect ‘sex with an ex’ solution – much to the amusement of the crowd on Centre Court!

When Rayne runs into old flame Adam, former good guy who is now all grown up with a hint of bad boy about him, it’s a tempting thought. But is that such a good idea, when she knows that four years ago, she broke his heart?

Back from travelling the world and settling into running the family business, Adam never expected to see his university girlfriend again. And he definitely didn’t think he would still be angry with her for running away, or that she would still have the same stunning effect on him. But she does, so maybe the perfect way to get her out of his dreams and from under his skin, is to have a hot sex-filled night with her? The only trouble is, one night might not be enough…

First love – can you ever go back? 


Review

Strawberries at Wimbledon is the fifth in a series of short romances set in London. I haven’t read any of the previous stories but they stand alone nicely. I love tennis, especially Wimbledon so that’s what drew me to this one.

The story is about journalist Rayne who is invited to Wimbledon by her best friend for a girls day out. What they didn’t bank on was bumping into Rayne’s ex, and first love Adam.

I enjoyed this light-hearted short read. It had lots of cute moments and enough backstory to make it interesting. I’ve been to the Wimbledon Championships a lot and I think the author did a good job in evoking the atmosphere of it. It did come across as a bit outdated however, as the queuing system and other things mentioned have moved on a bit in recent years, but it really didn’t impact on the essence of it.

I can only speak for this particular story, but I reckon the Love London series on the whole is a perfect read for summer. If you’re looking for something flirtatious and fun to read in the sun, then look no further!

unicorn rating 4

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Gone Fishing!

I’m taking a break, guys.

I’m going home tonight to celebrate my Nan’s 80th birthday – on a narrowboat! And then my mum is coming back to London with me to visit, and go to Wimbledon. Excited.

wimbledon

I did mean to schedule some posts but I haven’t found the time so I’m just going to take a wee break. I haven’t really been reading much lately anyway, due to life and the tennis.

I’ll reply to any comments/emails after I’m done celebrating Nadal or Murray winning Wimbledon.*

* I just jinxed it didn’t I?

Also, Happy Birthday to my favourite Di! Sometimes I make her get drunk and write guests posts for me. If you want to make her birthday even better you should check out her awesome new tote bags and enter her Birthday Giveaway HERE.

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts #5

This meme is hosted by the Bookishly Boisterous and the idea is simple. It’s a round-up of your week, in and out of book world. A place to store your thoughts, and basically anything you’d like to share on your blog.

It’s been a while since I did one of these, so I should have loads to tell you…hmmm…

1. In blog news, I got approved for the Waterstones Affiliate programme, which I was really pleased about. You can get 10% off too so check out my post here.

2. I’m also slowly catching up after being behind on reviews, and ARCs and reading in general. Work life and home life have both been busy which hasn’t left much time for reading and blogging, and the weekend just gone is the only free-ish one I’ll have all this month too. Gah…I’m having lots of fun, but I feel bad when I can’t review ARCs by their release date, don’t you?

3. The weekend before last, I went to Cardiff in Wales for a friend’s Hen party. It was so much fun, and I got to visit a castle, one of my favourite things to do! I was really surprised now nice Cardiff was tbh!

4. This series of Game of Thrones has been so epic, I’m really sad that there’s only two episodes left. TYRIONNNN. I’m totally in love with him. He’s also brilliant in the new X-men which I saw at the weekend. IT’S SO GOOD. I didn’t really rate the last one so I was surprised how awesome it was.

5. I also finally got round to seeing the film adaptation of Vampire Academy. Oh seriously, just no. It was terrible. TERRIBLE. I’d say my disappointment was on par with the Twilight films. THAT BAD. Worse than Divergent. THAT BAD. I mean seriously, look what they did to hot Dimitri:

Dimitri_at_the_dance

6. Another reason why I’ve fallen behind in life is because of the French Open. SO happy for Rafa, who won yesterday! Yayyyyy!

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Yes, I love tennis, and you’ll have to put up with a lot more of me talking about it when Wimbledon starts… other than Christmas, it’s my favourite time of year!!! I just hope Nadal’s knees hold up! Eeeek.

7. I reaaaaaaaaaaaaaally want to go on holiday this summer. A cheap but cheerful holiday in Spain or something where I can just lie on a beach, read, drink sangria and eat Tapas for a week. But I have no money. 😥 Anyone want to take me on holiday?

8. Rose plant update: In my last Bookish post I talked about a plant I’d bought. I’m not sure how to look after plants, or anything, so I thought I’d try and see how long I can keep it alive. 3 weeks on and it looks pretty good.

rose2

Woooo. I like how when the rose petals start to die, they go purple. Pretty. Maybe I’m ready for a pet??

9. Lastly, I’m waiting for The Great British Bake Off to start…seriously, why isn’t it on yet!!! It’s not summer until I can laugh at someone’s soggy bottom.

After Wimbledon by Jennifer Gilby Roberts

wimbAfter 12 years on the pro. tennis tour and four years with her sort-of boyfriend, Lucy Bennett has had enough. She wants real life… and real love.

Her life, her decision. Right? Well, no one else seems to think so. With opinions on all sides, Lucy’s head is spinning. And she’s stumbling right into the arms of long-term crush and fellow player Sam. Shame her boyfriend – his arch-rival – would sooner smash a racquet over their heads than agree to a simple change of partners.

As the Wimbledon Championships play out, Lucy fights for her life on and off the courts. The question is: what will she be left with after Wimbledon?

This book has been at the top of my review request book list for a few months now but I kept having to push it back because of ARC deadline books, and the fact that I couldn’t wait to read some sequels (Frostbite, Scarlet, Insurgent), but in a way I’m glad it took me this long to read it.

Not because it was bad (at all!), but because After Wimbledon is what I’d refer to as a seasonal book. It was such a perfect read for a sunny May bank holiday, I raced through it in two sittings! And also because I’m a British tennis fan, Wimbledon is one of the highlights of my year, and there’s nothing like the first warm days of the year to get me in the mood for that…so waiting a bit longer to start this book really paid off. I am well and truly excited for the summer now!

I think Lucy Bennett is a protagonist that most female twenty-somethings can relate to. She’s approaching thirty and having a bit of a premature mid-life crisis. Tennis is her life, but she’s had enough. Even Wimbledon, the greatest championship of all (even if I do say so myself) has lost its magic.

And it’s not just her career, she’s in a relationship that seems to be going nowhere, and the more she thinks about it, the more she realises how wrong they are for each other.

Enter Sam, who is everything Joe, the current (rubbish) boyfriend isn’t. Not only is he swoon-worthy, and Lucy’s long-term crush, but he too is planning to retire from pro tennis, and coach at Lucy’s parents Tennis club.

I couldn’t help but compare this book to the film Wimbledon, which isn’t a bad thing as it’s one of my guilty pleasure films! I loved the growing relationship between Lucy and Sam, and the drama that them spending more time together created, given that he is her boyfriend’s main rival on the tennis tour. And from my albeit limited knowledge, I thought it portrayed quite a realistic view of life as a professional tennis player. I was especially impressed with Roberts’ simple but effective description of Lucy’s matches and of Wimbledon itself.

That being said, there is also a lot to like about this book if you’re not so keen on tennis. The romance was sweet but not too cliched, and I liked that there were enough complications to keep the story interesting. The cast of characters surrounding Lucy are diverse, and all added something to the story – I especially liked Libby the journalist. And, I couldn’t fault the writing, it’s such an enjoyable read!

I’m totally excited for Wimbledon to start now. Roll on June!

unicorn rating 4

Disclosure?: Yep, I received a copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an HONEST review
Title: After Wimbledon
Author: Jennifer Gilby Roberts
Details: Kindle; Paperback; 264 pages
Published: December 4th 2013 by Createspace (first published November 29th 2013)
My Rating: 4/5

If you like the sound of this, you can also read Jennifer’s inspiration behind the novel on a guest post she did for my blog earlier in the year HERE.

Blog Take-Over!

Jennifer Gilby Roberts: The Inspiration behind her latest novel After Wimbledon

Did I ever mention that I love tennis? Oh I thought so…so you'll understand how thrilled I am to hand over my blog today to Jennifer Gilby Roberts, author of Tennis Romance, After Wimbledon.

Continue reading for Giveaway details!

The Inspiration Behind After Wimbledon

JGR
Naturally, for a novel by an English writer about the Wimbledon tennis tournament, After Wimbledon was born in Australia. For the tennis fans: it is the Laura Robson of chick lit novels.

I was taking some time out after finishing my degree. Having fried my brain by studying physics, a light-hearted romance was all I was good for. I arrived in Melbourne halfway through the Australian Open and spent most of the next week hanging out in Fed Square watching the action on their big screen. That was fabulous because it was right in the middle of the city and anyone could just wander down. I even sat in the Rod Laver Arena (the equivalent of Centre Court) for one day. Since I was travelling alone, I managed to grab an odd seat right in the front row. I heard Roger Federer swear, that’s how close I was. (RFed swears!? I am shocked!)

At the same time, I was struggling with a decision. I’d been dating someone for a couple of years before I went away and had left him back home. In a twist on the classic tale, he was sure we were for keeps and I was uncertain. I was only 23 when we started dating and wasn’t expecting to get serious. Marriage was something for my thirties, if it happened at all. One morning, in a shower stall at the hostel, I broke it off over the phone. It was Australia Day, but the fireworks seemed rather out-of-place.

A few weeks later, I decided it was time to write another novel. My first, The Dr Pepper Prophecies, had been completed five years earlier. Suddenly, I had something to write about again: tennis and major life confusion. And out of those things After Wimbledon was born. The first draft contained much angst. I reckon I cut out about 30,000 words to get to the final version. I’m just counting that bit as therapy. It’s a much better read without it!

And the boyfriend I mentioned? Reader, I married him. Only happy endings here…

After Wimbledon

wimb
After 12 years on the pro. tennis tour and four years with her sort-of boyfriend, Lucy Bennett has had enough. She wants real life… and real love.

Her life, her decision. Right? Well, no one else seems to think so. With opinions on all sides, Lucy’s head is spinning. And she’s stumbling right into the arms of long-term crush and fellow player Sam. Shame her boyfriend – his arch-rival – would sooner smash a racquet over their heads than agree to a simple change of partners.

As the Wimbledon Championships play out, Lucy fights for her life on and off the courts. The question is: what will she be left with after Wimbledon?

After Wimbledon is available on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, other Amazon sites and Barnes & Noble

Giveaway!

You can win an e-copy of After Wimbledon, and many other great ebooks, in the Chick Lit Ebook Giveaway on Jennifer Gilby Roberts’ blog, 1-14 March 2014.

Find Jennifer Gilby Roberts on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, LibraryThing, Wattpad and Amazon.

I can’t wait to read this, look out for my review in next fortnight. Huge thanks to Jennifer!

A Crime of Tennis Passion: Game, Set and Murder by Elizabeth Flynn

cover32711-mediumIt’s the first day of the tennis tournament at Wimbledon. And a dead body is lying on court nineteen. Newly-promoted detective inspector Angela Costello recognizes the dead man as the Croatian champion-turned-coach, Petar Belic. Double grand-slam winner, Petar was one of the best-known and best loved players of the modern era. Petar had a complicated life: an ex-wife who wanted him back; a girlfriend who didn’t want to let him go; a business partner with secrets. Then there was leading Brit Stewart Bickerstaff, not universally popular with his fellow players, whom Petar had been coaching. Little by little DI Costello, despite awkward and prickly colleagues, discerns a trail through the mass of information. Unfortunately she has no way of proving her suspicions. But a prime suspect has overlooked a vital detail …

If you haven’t noticed, I’m a massive tennis fan. ‘Oh but it’s so boring’ I hear you cry…err no, you are wrong! And strangely enough this debut crime novel by Elizabeth Flynn evoked in me that same thrill and anxiousness I get when watching an epic tennis match which makes me able to say just that..you are wrong. :p

Game, Set and Murder, as you’d imagine starts with a murder. We are instantly thrust into the mystery surrounding the body of tennis coach Petar Belic found dead on court 19 on the very first day of The Wimbledon Championships. Our protagonist, Angela ‘DI’ Costello is an intelligent, caring Detective in charge of running her very first murder case.

Costello is also a big tennis fan, which gives her an extra advantage in that she already has knowledge of the players and close affiliates, and she’s able to use the tennis-loving angle to get them all to open up and spill the locker-room gossip. However, she also has a hell of a lot to prove.

I absolutely loved this book. It’s a quick, easy read that has all the elements of a good traditional ‘cozy’ Detective Story. Despite not reading much of the genre lately, I’m a big fan of Crime Fiction, especially the simple structure of a closed circle mystery.

Game, Set and Murder is a classic closed circle mystery in some ways, although the circle of suspects is perhaps a little larger than usual and instead of a rambling mansion, the location is of course the Wimbledon Tennis club. One murder, one location, a bunch of suspects and one piece of the puzzle fed to us at a time until the big reveal.

It wasn’t the most exciting crime story I’ve read, but the pace was fast and the characters were interesting and suspicious in equal measure, making it an enjoyable read.

I particularly enjoyed the relationship between Costello and her husband, the Coroner. They were perfectly written, portraying a realistic, loving couple that gave the story a good grounding away from the investigation. And, being a tennis fan, I’ve been to Wimbledon numerous times and those details were pretty faultless.

Despite the fact that a murder had just taken place, this book made me want to head straight to Wimbledon. Elizabeth Flynn totally nailed the excitement and beauty of the place during those two weeks in midsummer, but I’m not sure if non-tennis fans would enjoy this as much. It’d still be enjoyable as a crime novel i’m sure, but perhaps not as captivating.

unicorn rating 4

Disclosure: I received an advanced copy from the Publisher/Author in exchange for an HONEST review. Many Thanks!
Title: Game, Set and Murder
Author: Elizabeth Flynn
Details: Paperback, 272 pages
Publication Date: Published October 18th 2013 by Lion Fiction
My Rating: 4/5
If you liked this try: A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton

Coming Up: Winter Vs Summer

I have two very different books coming up. Watch this space.

18633458Title: A Breath of Frost (The Lovegrove Legacy #1)
Author: Alyxandra Harvey
Details: E-book, Hardback, Paperback, 496 pages
Expected Publication: January 2nd 2014 by Bloomsbury Childrens

Emma Day and her two cousins, Gretchen and Penelope, are uninterested in their debutante lives. All the boring balls, tiresome curtsying and polite conversation leave much to be desired. Then a girl is found dead, frost clinging to her lifeless body, and the murder is traced to Emma. As their world is turned upside down, Emma discovers more about herself and her cousins, from her connection to the murders to the secrets of her family legacy. Now the girls must embrace their true Lovegrove inheritance in order to stop the chaos, even if that means risking their lives. Dangerously handsome Cormac Fairfax wants to help Emma – but, with secrets of his own to hide, can she trust him?

The first book in a deliciously dark new trilogy. Perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare and Ruth Warburton.

cover32711-medium Title: Game, Set and Murder
Author: Elizabeth Flynn
Details: Paperback, 272 pages
Expected Publication: October 18th 2013 by Lion Fiction

It’s the first day of the tennis tournament at Wimbledon. And a dead body is lying on court nineteen. Newly-promoted detective inspector Angela Costello recognizes the dead man as the Croatian champion-turned-coach, Petar Belic. Double grand-slam winner, Petar was one of the best-known and best loved players of the modern era. Petar had a complicated life: an ex-wife who wanted him back; a girlfriend who didn’t want to let him go; a business partner with secrets. Then there was leading Brit Stewart Bickerstaff, not universally popular with his fellow players, whom Petar had been coaching. Little by little DI Costello, despite awkward and prickly colleagues, discerns a trail through the mass of information. Unfortunately she has no way of proving her suspicions. But a prime suspect has overlooked a vital detail …

I’m excited about both of these, even if Game, Set and Murder sounds like more of a summer read, murder at Wimbledon…I couldn’t resist!

Favourites Friday #10: Open (Just Look at Those Sad, Sad Eyes!)

In honor of the US Open which I’ve lost many hours to this last week and a half, my favourites choice for today is pretty different to any of my other picks!

Click to view on Goodreads

Click to view on Goodreads

I don’t read many auto-biographies but this is my absolute favourite. I was a huge fan of Agassi growing up and JUST LOOK AT HIS SAD EYES. Don’t you want to give him a hug?

The great thing about this book isn’t the revelations of him taking Crystal Meth or wearing a hair-piece it’s his brutal descriptions of some of the best/worst matches of his life. They are written like battle diaries; playing with injury on top of injury; through excruciating pain but doing anything in your power to win. I’m not sure if you’ll feel the same if you’re not a tennis fan, but Open is written beautifully and is a thrilling and heartbreaking read.

From Andre Agassi, one of the most beloved athletes in history and one of the most gifted men ever to step onto a tennis court, a beautiful, haunting autobiography.

Agassi’s incredibly rigorous training begins when he is just a child. By the age of thirteen, he is banished to a Florida tennis camp that feels like a prison camp. Lonely, scared, a ninth-grade dropout, he rebels in ways that will soon make him a 1980s icon. He dyes his hair, pierces his ears, dresses like a punk rocker. By the time he turns pro at sixteen, his new look promises to change tennis forever, as does his lightning-fast return.

And yet, despite his raw talent, he struggles early on. We feel his confusion as he loses to the world’s best, his greater confusion as he starts to win. After stumbling in three Grand Slam finals, Agassi shocks the world, and himself, by capturing the 1992 Wimbledon. Overnight he becomes a fan favorite and a media target.

Agassi brings a near-photographic memory to every pivotal match and every relationship. Never before has the inner game of tennis and the outer game of fame been so precisely limned. Alongside vivid portraits of rivals from several generations—Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer—Agassi gives unstinting accounts of his brief time with Barbra Streisand and his doomed marriage to Brooke Shields. He reveals a shattering loss of confidence. And he recounts his spectacular resurrection, a comeback climaxing with his epic run at the 1999 French Open and his march to become the oldest man ever ranked number one.

In clear, taut prose, Agassi evokes his loyal brother, his wise coach, his gentle trainer, all the people who help him regain his balance and find love at last with Stefanie Graf. Inspired by her quiet strength, he fights through crippling pain from a deteriorating spine to remain a dangerous opponent in the twenty-first and final year of his career. Entering his last tournament in 2006, he’s hailed for completing a stunning metamorphosis, from nonconformist to elder statesman, from dropout to education advocate. And still he’s not done. At a U.S. Open for the ages, he makes a courageous last stand, then delivers one of the most stirring farewells ever heard in a sporting arena.

With its breakneck tempo and raw candor, Open will be read and cherished for years. A treat for ardent fans, it will also captivate readers who know nothing about tennis. Like Agassi’s game, it sets a new standard for grace, style, speed, and power.

An Apology!

I probably chose the worst time to start a blog so soz about the lack of reviews/updates. But y’know this has been happening….

I wish I owned these but I don't. Click Image for Source.

I wish I owned these but I don’t. Click Image for Source.

No.Words

No.Words

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Epic end to an epic match!

Epic end to an Epic Match!

And this also happened:

Fun in the Sun!

Fun in the Sun!

Eurovision & Brighton May 2013 036

We did spot a second hand book stall on the seafront in Brighton though; 3 paperbacks for £6, which was exciting until we realised there was nothing we wanted and/or hadn’t read.

Eurovision & Brighton May 2013 047

I’m almost done with Bitterblue…I don’t want it to end!