Right now I'm reading...

Right now I'm reading... Taylor Swift: The Whole Story by Chas Newkey-Burden.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Shopaholic Abroad by Sophie Kinsella.

This is the second book featuring the fabulously neurotic Rebecca Bloomwood and takes her shopping obsession all the way to New York.

She is now in a relationship with the work obsessed Luke and together they take a trip to the shopping capital of the world. 

I absolutely love the backwards logic Becky applies to shopping, she could talk herself into buying everything and despite the item being nothing she would ever need in her life, she always manages to convince herself that she really needs it.  She gets sucked into offers even though they're not good value for money at all.  And once again we see her debt mounting up.

Becky takes some knocks in this book and despite all her faults, I love her character.  Even when things are her fault, you can't help but pray that everything turns out well for her.

I really enjoyed this book, and am firmly getting into the Shopaholic series.  The books don't fail to disappoint when you're in need of some easy-to-read chick-lit that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

The back page blurb:
For Rebecca Bloomwood, life is peachy. She has a job on morning TV, her bank manager is actually being nice to her, and when it comes to spending money, her new motto is Buy Only What You Need - and she's really (sort of) sticking to it. The icing on the brioche is that she's been offered a chance to work in New York.
New York! The Museum of Modern Art! The Guggenheim! The Metropolitan Opera House! And Becky does mean to go to them all. Honestly. It's just that it seems silly not to check out a few other famous places first. Like Saks. And Bloomingdales. And Barneys. And one of those fantastic sample sales where you can get a Prada dress for $10. Or was it $100? Is Becky too dazzled to care?

Title: Shopaholic Abroad
Author: Sophie Kinsella

No-One Ever Has Sex On A Tuesday by Tracy Bloom.

This is my first Tracy Bloom book and straight away I fell in love with the main character Katy.  She's totally normal, yet just a little bit lost with a tiny bit of crazy thrown in there for good measure.

In this book we go on a journey with Katy on her road to Motherhood. I love reading books involving pregnancy as I've never been pregnant and so the whole subject totally fascinates me.

This book is full of romantic engagements, secrets and heartbreak together with some funny and embarrassing moments.  I didn't really know which way the story was going to go and couldn't guess then ending.

With lots of fun characters to meet, this book will put a smile on your face and keep you turning pages until the end.

The back page blurb:
Childhood sweethearts Matthew and Katy agree they must never see each other again after they end up in bed together following a school re-union. So all is forgotten... until eight months later when a shock meeting at an antenatal class forces them to confront the fact that Matthew could be the father of Katy's baby. Oblivious to the mayhem unfolding, Matthew's highly-strung wife frets over giving birth to twins and Katy’s much younger boyfriend refuses to take fatherhood seriously.
Love and life are messy but Katy and Matthew take things to a whole new level as deep emotions begin to resurface and hormones run riot.
How will they navigate their way through this almighty cock-up?

Title: No-One Ever Has Sex On A Tuesday
Author: Tracy Bloom

An Autumn Crush by Milly Johnson.

I love a good Milly Johnson book and I wasn't disappointed with this classic Milly Johnson tale.

Like all her other books in the 'seasons' range this one was packed full of loveable characters who are larger than life yet at the same time just as normal as you and I.  

In this book we meet Floz who moves in with Juliet and they become firm friends.  Plus we see love interests emerge in the form of Juliet's brother Guy and his wrestling friend Steve.  These love interests and budding new friendships allow the friends to work through their previous heartbreak and look towards more positive futures.

The autumnal setting for the book is lovely.  There are plenty of warm, fuzzy moments in this book, plus a couple of twists I did not see coming.  All together it was a story full of characters which intrigued me and I really enjoyed reading the book, so much I wanted to whiz through it to find out how everything worked out in the end.

The back page blurb:
After a bruising divorce, headstrong Juliet Miller invests in a flat and advertises for a flatmate, little believing that in her mid-thirties she'll find anyone suitable. But along comes self-employed copywriter Floz, raw from her own relationship split, and the two woman hit it off. When Juliet's twin brother Guy meets Floz, he is overcome with a massive crush. But being a shy, gentle giant, he communicates so clumsily with her as to give her the opposite impression. Guy's best friend Steve has always had a secret, unrequited crush on Juliet. After a night of too much wine, Steve and Juliet end up in bed, after moaning about the lack of sex in their lives. Convinced that Juliet doesn't feel the same way, Steve agrees to a 'just-sex' relationship, until they can both hook their dream partners. Just when Guy has finally plucked up the courage to tell Floz how he feels, he finds she has rekindled an old romance. Floz has never had much love in her life and is obviously thirsty for affection. She loves the whole Miller family, from Juliet and Guy's warm, loving parents, to their ancient one-eyed black cat. But can Guy turn Floz's affection for his family into something more - into love for him? Then Juliet makes a series of discoveries which will turn the lives of all four friends upside-down and turns that Autumn into a season where love can be harvested.

Title: An Autumn Crush
Author: Milly Johnson

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Take A Look At Me Now by Miranda Dickinson.

In this book we meet Nell, who after finding out she has been made redundant decides to leave the sensible decisions behind and take a trip of a lifetime.

It's such a feel good book.  Nell is a lovely, warm character who despite being as insecure as the rest of us in some ways, makes brave, confident decisions to make the best of a bad situation.  In this way she can be an inspiration to all of us.

The characters are wonderful.  I would love to flat share with Nell's cousin and am sure I would have adored the customers in Annie's who sounded so much fun.

As someone who this year went to America for the first time and has well and truly got the America-bug I was delighted that this book based in San Francisco.  It's not somewhere I've ever really given much thought to visiting, but having read the detail of Miranda Dickinson's description of it, I'm finding myself daydreaming about what a fantastic trip I could have there.

Coincidentally, just like Nell, my boyfriend has always dreamed of opening his own American diner so this book held a special fascination for me.  I loved the description of the diner and I challenge anyone to read this book without drooling over some of the dishes served at Annie's; they sound incredibly naughty and very delicious!

One thing I loved about this book was that I couldn't guess the ending.  There were plenty of moments when I had a good go, but it was far from predictable which made it such an interesting read.

I can't recommend this book enough.  It's stuffed full of fun and friendship, with a big dollop of romance thrown in too.  But most of all this is an inspirational story that allows you to believe that even when things get tough you always have the chance to turn them around.  A wonderful chick-lit read.

The back page blurb:
What a difference a day makes...Nell Sullivan has always been known as 'Miss Five-Year Plan'. But when she finds herself jobless and newly single on the same day, Nell decides it is time to stop planning and start taking chances. Nell blows her redundancy cheque on a trip of lifetime to a place where anything is possible - San Francisco. There she meets a host of colourful characters, including the intriguing and gorgeous Max. Very soon the city begins to feel like Nell's second home. But when it's time to return to London, will she leave the 'new Nell' behind? And can the magic of San Francisco continue to sparkle thousands of miles away?

Title: Take A Look At Me Now
Author: Miranda Dickinson

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Instructions For A Heatwave by Maggie O'Farrell.

I have a confession to make... I only picked up this book because the lovely people at O2 gave it away as a freebie... being able to walk out of WHSmiths without paying for a book is hugely exciting!

I wouldn't normally have chosen this book, as to be honest I never seem to enjoy the books that Richard and Judy choose to be part of their book club.  I seem to find them slow and hard to get in to.

Instructions For A Heatwave was no different.  I found it hard to get into the storyline, there seemed to be too many characters which I found confusing at first.  The story jumps around a lot, one minute being in the present tense then jumping back to childhood, which with the confusion between characters just made it difficult to read.

I love a story with a mystery that keeps you turning pages, but somehow this mystery just didn't grab my interest.  And I found that I couldn't relate to the characters.

I've heard lots of good things about this book but unfortunately it just wasn't for me.

The back page blurb:
It's July 1976. In London, it hasn't rained for months, gardens are filled with aphids, water comes from a standpipe, and Robert Riordan tells his wife Gretta that he's going round the corner to buy a newspaper. He doesn't come back. The search for Robert brings Gretta's children - two estranged sisters and a brother on the brink of divorce - back home, each wih different ideas as to where their father might have gone. None of them suspects that their mother might have an explanation that even now she cannot share.

Title: Instructions For A Heatwave
Author: Maggie O'Farrell

Love & The Goddess by Mary Elizabeth Coen.

I chose to read this book as I saw it compared to Eat, Pray, Love which is one of my favourite books.  There are a few similarities between the two novels, they both include women on a spiritual journey travelling abroad, enjoying their food and trying to decide if they are ready to love again following a separation. Unfortunately I didn't find the characters in this book as strong as Eat, Pray, Love.

But without making comparisons between this book and any other, in it's own right it is essentially the story of Kate, who following a separation, tries to rediscover her priorities in life, by travelling, cooking and dipping her toe into the world of internet dating.

Whilst the book was enjoyable enough to read I felt it lacked the spark needed to make it stand out from any other.  To me it was an average example of a chick-lit read.  For my personal taste I would have preferred more emphasis to be placed on the spiritual aspect of the book; I really enjoy those sentences that make you stop reading and think.  Maybe that's what I was hoping for here but didn't find.  But all in all a pleasant enough read.

The back page blurb:
When cookery teacher Kate Canavan’s perfect life falls apart she moves to Galway City. Kate’s friend James urges her to love and nurture herself, but mischievous Ella persuades her to dust off her unused dating skills. So Kate explores the world of on- line dating using the name of a Greek Goddess. In the midst of a mad dating frenzy, Kate has a traumatic health scare which convinces her to drop everything and go in search of a guru. Travelling with Ella, she visits a spiritual healer in Brazil, only to find Ella is more interested in having fun than seeking enlightenment. Next stop Peru, where a shaman tells her how to harness the energy of the Goddess and the Divine Feminine. Kate’s journey of self-discovery continues apace after she returns home and events unfold in a surprising manner as she learns to think for herself.

Title: Love & The Goddess
Author: Mary Elizabeth Coen

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Confessions Of A Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella.

I loved this book.  I have to admit I'm a bit of a shopping addict, especially where books are concerned.  My brain really doesn't comprehend that I can ever have too many books.  Luckily I can control myself a little bit better than Rebecca can.  I absolutely love the way that she talks herself into buying things she really doesn't need or that aren't good value, getting tempted by things like Boots Advantage Points or Sale signs.

I found the character of Rebecca to be very likeable. She is always getting herself into ridiculous situations as she doesn't seem able to say when she's wrong, instead she creates hilarious white lies to cover up her shortfalls.

I thought the book would be more romantic than it was.  There is a love interest in the end but the main part of the story, as the title suggests, is about shopping - a pretty good subject for chick-lit really!

This was a really easy read of a book.  Absolutely perfect for when you want a funny, easy to read book.  Now I just have to read the others in the series...

The back page blurb:
Meet Rebecca Bloomwood.
She's a journalist. She spends her working life telling others how to manage their money.
She spends her leisure time ... shopping.
Retail therapy is the answer to all her problems. She knows she should stop, but she can't. She tries Cutting Back, she tries Making More Money. But neither seems to work. The stories she concocts become more and more fantastic as she tries to untangle her increasingly dire financial difficulties. Her only comfort is to buy herself something - just a little something...
Can Becky ever escape from this dream world, find true love, and regain the use of her Switch card?

Title: Confessions Of A Shopaholic (previously published as The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic).
Author: Sophie Kinsella

Saturday, 5 October 2013

The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella.

This was my first Sophie Kinsella book and it certainly won't be my last.  It's a brilliant read, a totally fabulous example of chick-lit. Right from the start I was hooked on Samantha's story.  Sophie Kinsella writes in such a light-hearted breezy way that it's impossible not to enjoy the story.  Samantha is a great main character, she's funny and very normal. The great thing about this book is that everyone can relate to it, we might not all be high-powered lawyers but we have all struggled with a washing machine that has more controls than a space ship!

The family that Samantha move in with are just the right side of crazy.  I was holding my breath that when the truth came out at the end of the story they wouldn't throw her out.  This book has a lovely chunk of romance in it but mostly it's about a girl who's lost her way in life; and I think we've all been there at some point haven't we.

All in all this is a fun, light-hearted and very easy to read book.  Perfect for when you need some heart-warming entertainment.

The back page blurb:
Samantha is a high-powered lawyer in London. She works all hours, has no home life, and cares only about getting a partnership.She thrives on the pressure and adrenalin. Until one day... she makes a mistake. A mistake so huge, it'll wreck her career.
She walks right out of the office, gets on the first train she sees, and finds herself in the middle of nowhere. Asking for directions at a big, beautiful house, she is mistaken for the interviewee housekeeper and finds herself being offered the job. They have no idea they've hired a Cambridge-educated lawyer with an IQ of 158 - Samantha has no idea how to work the oven.
Disaster ensues. It's chaos as Samantha battles with the washing machine...the ironing board...and attempts to cook a cordon bleu dinner.But gradually, she falls in love with her new life in a wholly unexpected way.
Will her employers ever discover the truth? Will Samantha's old life ever catch up with her? And if it does...will she want it back?

Title: The Undomestic Goddess
Author: Sophie Kinsella