Right now I'm reading...

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

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Billy by Pamela Stephenson.

This books tells the story of Billy Connolly's life, as written by his wife Pamela Stephenson.
The book begins with Pamela giving quite a philosophical introduction which I found really interesting; and I absolutely adored the ending, in which Billy wrote his own rules for life.  They were hilarious; I could easily live my own life by them!
I have to admit that I found the rest of the book I little bit dull.  I really like Billy Connolly which is why I wanted to read this book, but I can't really put my finger on what I thought the book was missing.  To me it just seemed to jump around a bit, and seemed to spend too much time focusing on his childhood which is always my least favourite part of biographies and autobiographies, I prefer to hear about their time being famous, because I feel like that's the time when I've 'known' them.

There were some funny anecdotes and plenty of celebrity friend name dropping but on the whole I just felt this book lacked a little sparkle. There was nothing really that I feel set it apart from other books I've read like this, and I love a good comedian biography!

The back page blurb:
The inside story of the one of the most successful British stand-up comedians, as told by the person best qualified to reveal all about the man behind the comic, his wife of over 20 years – Pamela Stephenson.
Once in a lifetime, there strides upon the stage someone who can truly be called a legend. Such a person is the inimitable, timeless genius who is Billy Connolly. His effortlessly wicked whimsy has entranced, enthralled – and split the sides of – thousands upon thousands of adoring audiences.
And when he isn't doing that…he's turning in award-winning performances on film and television.
He's the man who needs no introduction, and yet he is the ultimate enigma. From a troubled and desperately poor childhood in the docklands of Glasgow he is now the intimate of household names the world over.
How did this happen, who is the real Billy Connolly? Only one person can answer that question: his wife, Pamela Stephenson. Pamela’s writing combines the very personal with a frank objectivity that makes for a compelling, moving and hugely entertaining biography. This is the real Billy Connolly.
This genre-defining book is now re-released for a new generation of comedy fans, with a stunning package and a new Foreword from the author. Pamela’s vision of Billy is as true now as it ever was – as groundbreaking, as moving and as laugh-out-loud funny – and here she brings the book fully into its context, as one of the most influential biographies ever written.

Title: Billy
Author: Pamela Stephenson.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella.

I adore the Shopaholic series, each book is absolutely stuffed with the fun factor and I love giggling my way through them.  The thing that always capivates me with these books is the logic Becky uses to justify her crazy spending- mainly because I know I've done exactly the same thing, some days I'm really good and can talk myself out of buying anything; but then other days I'm just like Becky, and can make myself think that pretty much anything is a total bargain and I 'really need' it right now!

In this book we meet Minnie, who is Becky's troublesome daughter, she is full of mischief and well on her way to becoming a shopaholic just like her Mum.  All the well loved family characters are back, with Luke continuing to be too distracted by work to notice the crazy goings on in his wife's life.  Whilst the country is having a financial crisis, Becky is arranging ways to spend money she doesn't have in a bigger way than she ever has before.

Becky's optimism and go-get-it attitude is so inspiring, and she is such a loveable character.  I love reading the shopaholic books because they are so very easy to read that they are a pleasure to whirl through. You are guaranteed giggles and heart-warming moments in this, as with the other books in the same series.  I promise if you read this one you won't be disappointed. 

The back page blurb:
Like mother, like daughter...!
Shopaholic Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood)'s two-year-old is ... spirited. She knows what she wants, whether it's a grown-up Prada handbag or a toy pony (40% off, so a bargain, surely?) When yet another shopping trip turns to mayhem, Becky decides it's time to give Minnie her own pocket money. Is it a bad sign when Minnie goes instantly overdrawn?
Minnie isn't the only one in financial crisis. As the Bank of London collapses, people are having to Cut Back. Everyone needs cheering up, so what better way to do it than to throw a fabulous surprise party? A thrifty party, of course. Except economising and keeping a secret have never been Becky's strong points ...

Title: Mini Shopaholic
Author: Sophie Kinsella

Saturday, 28 June 2014

The Teashop On The Corner by Milly Johnson.

Like all Milly Johnson novels I was swept away by the characters and the setting of this book.  The namesake of this book, and place where all the characters get to know each other, is such an adorable cafe.  Not only selling cakes, the names of which will make your mouth water, but also the most adorable book-themed gifts which sounds like every bookworm's dream... if this cafe was a real place I would definitely be making a visit.

There are lots of characters in this book, not too many that it gets confusing but just enough that there is plenty going on, and someone in the book that every reader will be able to relate to.  All the characters were wonderfully strong, each with their own little flaw that made you love them all the more.  I particularly liked the relationship between Leni, the owner of the teashop, and her Saturday boy.  He was so sweet, and she had such a sad back-story which when revealed gives you faith in the power of friendship and forgiveness.

I also adored the fact that some well loved characters from previous Milly Johnson novels made appearances in this book, I always love a good character cross-over!

This book is really easy to read and would make a brilliant holiday read.  It tells a story full of endearing characters who will make you laugh and make you cry, but most of all this book will leave you with a warm, fuzzy feeling and a smile on your face.

The back page blurb:
Life is full of second chances...if only you keep your heart open for them. Spring Hill Square is a pretty sanctuary away from the bustle of everyday life. And at its centre is Leni Merryman's Teashop on the Corner, specialising in cake, bookish stationery and compassion. And for three people, all in need of a little TLC, it is somewhere to find a friend to lean on. Carla Pride has just discovered that her late husband Martin was not who she thought he was. And now she must learn to put her marriage behind her and move forward. Molly Jones's ex-husband Harvey has reappeared in her life after many years, wanting to put right the wrongs of the past before it is too late. And Will Linton's business has gone bust and his wife has left him to pick up the pieces. Now he needs to gather the strength to start again. Can all three find the comfort they are looking for in The Teashop on the Corner? And as their hearts are slowly mended by Leni, can they return the favour when she needs it most...? A story of love, friendship and second chances that will warm your heart and rekindle your hope.

Title: The Teashop On The Corner
Author: Milly Johnson
Buy The Teashop On The Corner here

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Excess All Areas by Mandy Baggot.

This was a fabulously fun read.  I've only read one other book by Mandy Baggot, Made In Nashville.  I loved that one and I love this one too.  Right from the start you'll be swept away with the romance of the story, and I fell in love with Freya, the main character, from the first pages.  I was right behind her and had my fingers crossed that everything would work out for her.  She was so very normal, and loveable, that I could really relate to her and all her insecurities.

As Freya escapes her good-for-nothing boyfriend by running away to see her best friend, Emma, who lives in Corfu, she meets Hollywood film star Nicholas and gets swept off her feet.

There is so much more to this story than a fluffy romance, the story is full of mystery, with Freya's past being a secret that only her and Emma are aware of.  And then when you're least expecting it, Nicholas shocks the reader with a secret of his own.

I can't help but get completely swept away with Mandy Baggot's writing, the story was so romantic, it really does give you that warm fuzzy feeling as you're reading, and makes for a story that you just can't put down.  Think perfect chick-lit with a hint of extra magic.

The back page blurb:
When the going gets tough Freya Johnson gets going! 
Humiliated by her boyfriend the day she turns thirty, Freya boards a last minute flight to Corfu to visit her best friend Emma. Little does she know - this holiday will change her life forever. 
Enter Hollywood film star Nicholas Kaden whose entourage is stirring up the village of Kassiopi while filming his new movie. He’s hot, he’s unexpectedly different, but is he for real? 
Caught up in a media frenzy, feeling unwelcome and uncomfortable in Nicholas’ movie world, Freya battles with the ghosts of her past and the uncertainty of her future. Can she help Emma, keep her own big secret and find out what Nicholas is hiding, before she feels the urge to run away again?

Title: Excess All Areas
Author: Mandy Baggot

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Carnal Acts by Sam Alexander.

"Sam Alexander is a pseudonym for an acclaimed British crime writer. His identity will be unveiled if and when the time is right ..."

When I found out this book was written by a pseudonym it captured my interest straight away, I love a good mystery.  Whilst I love reading crime books I am by no means an expert on them, so despite reading it, I still have no idea who 'really' wrote Carnal Acts.

This is a brilliant work of crime fiction which opens with a mystery that keeps running throughout the book and isn't revealed until the very end - it kept me guessing the whole way through.

The main detective in the book, Joni, is such an unusual character, so strong and determined to break the case, but could be seen to use a little bit too much force sometimes to find her answers.  Her mother is a zany character who seemed to me to be a white witch - always at one with nature and cooking up some very strange home brews.  I really liked the other main detective, Heck, who despite being old in service with illness holding him back, had enough fire in his belly to tackle some of the most dangerous criminals.

There were many strands to the crimes being committed, with lots of offenders encompassing many different groups.  I had to concentrate in places to keep up with the action as the book is so fast paced that the crimes and their investigation race by; but this just made it a thoroughly interesting read.

All in all I found it a gripping story, it felt a little bit more quirky than some other crime novels - it had something sassy about it that made it stand out from the crowd.  And if you think you know who Sam Alexander is then please let me know!!

The back page blurb:
A stunning crime fiction novel featuring a pair of detectives in the northern English borderlands. DI Joni Pax, a London homicide detective wounded in a disastrous raid, has been transferred to the newly formed Police Force of North East England. Her boss, DCI Hector Heck Rutherford, is recently back at work after cancer treatment. Between them they are responsible for major crime in rural Northumberland and County Durham. Joni, the daughter of a black American and a white hippy, is a loner struggling to regain her self confidence. Heck is happily married, but his illness has left him fearful. Based in Corham, a town with Roman, medieval and industrial heritage, Paz and Rutherford investigate a murder at a brothel run by the Albanian mafia. In a series of breathtaking plot twists, the author demonstrates the corruption that underpins the beautiful northern English countryside as well as hinting at a mysterious world beyond the horizon. Carnal Acts explores abuse of many kinds sexual, psychological, economic taking the police procedural to places it has never been before.

Title: Carnal Acts
Author: Sam Alexander
Buy Carnal Acts Here

Monday, 2 June 2014

Take Mum Out by Fiona Gibson.

This was such a fun book, telling the story of a harassed and very busy Mum of two teenage boys who dares to re-enter the dating scene after many years away from romance.

Alice is such a warm, realistic and genuine character that you'll fall in love with her straight away.  Her two teenage boys, whilst being the typical teenagers in some senses, really restore your faith in teenagers as being caring and fun to have around rather than spending all their time moaning and being moody!

Alice agrees to go on three blind dates which are set up for her by her three best friends.  Its really interesting to meet all the new characters introduced into the book this way, some of whom you hope to read more of, and others who make you cringe!

Despite dealing with some very real insecurities, this book is filled with love and laughter.  Alice is a real trooper, she doesn't let anything get her down.  Her busy family life only makes you envious of her drive and determination to make a better life for her family and find herself some romance.

All in all this is a really fun, warm book, and will have you giggling and cringing in equal measure!

The back page blurb:
Three blind dates
Two teenage boys messing up her plans
And one man who'll melt Alice's heart.
'You need to get back in the saddle…' Alice despises that phrase. She's fine being single – with two slothful teenage boys and a meringue business to run, she has enough on her plate without negotiating the troublesome world of modern dating.
However, Alice's three best friends have other ideas. Each one will present her with an utterly delicious, eligible man – all Alice has to do is pick her favourite.

Title: Take Mum Out
Author: Fiona Gibson

Saturday, 10 May 2014

The Other Hand by Chris Cleave.

Given the rather cryptic blurb that appears on the back of this book I don't want to give away the storyline as I enjoyed reading the book without any idea of what was involved in the story.

I will say that the story intrigued me from the beginning.  The style of writing was brilliant and allowed me to enjoy Little Bee's accent as her words ran around my head.   I was gripped by the story from the start, quite early on a mystery is revealed that has you turning pages wanting to uncover the secret of how the two main characters, Little Bee and Sarah were connected.

Parts of the book were quite disturbing, and it deals with some heavy issues, but not in a way that will leave you feeling unsettled, rather it really makes you think; and I felt myself considering subjects in a way that I never would have before.

I know that this blog is a little bit cryptic, but I really enjoyed that I had no preconceptions of how the story would pan out when I read it, and hope that if you go on to read it you would feel the same too!  All I can say is that this book is full of very strong characters with an incredibly powerful story to tell, which will keep you turning pages at a fast pace.

The back page blurb:
We don't want to tell you too much about this book. It is a truly special story and we don't want to spoil it.
Nevertheless, you need to know something, so we will just say this:
It is extremely funny, but the African beach scene is horrific.
The story starts there, but the book doesn't.
And it's what happens afterwards that is most important.
Once you have read it, you'll want to tell everyone about it. When you do, please don't tell them what happens either. The magic is in how it unfolds.

Title: The Other Hand
Author: Chris Cleave

Monday, 5 May 2014

A Place To Call Home by Carole Matthews.

Like all Carole Matthews books this one welcomes you from the first page, and you'll soon find yourself lost within the story.  The book was filled with such warm characters who I fell in love with from the moment I started getting to know their story.

We meet Ayesha who makes the brave decision to leave an unhappy relationship, and in the dead of night flees her home town to start a new life in London with her daughter.  When she gets to her new accommodation she meets three new fabulous friends who support her as her new journey begins in the shadow of her past.

I really bonded with the character of Ayesha despite us coming from completely different worlds; she was so strong and was able to remain positive in adverse conditions.  I also really liked the character of Crystal who was so bubbly it was infectious, and seems like the perfect friend to have to help lift your spirits when you're feeling down as Ayesha sometimes was.

The house they all lived in seemed to be such a wonderful retreat from real life, and I loved reading about how lucky Ayesha was to have found herself in such a caring, supportive new home.

There are some dark topics in this book; from domestic violence and death to anxiety; but the overwhelming vibe throughout the story is one of positivity.

Like all Carole Matthew's books, this will leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy, and is a book you will be sad to finish.

The back page blurb:
In the dead of night, Ayesha takes her daughter, Sabina, and slips quietly from her home, leaving behind a life full of pain. Boarding a coach to London, all Ayesha wants is a fresh start.

Hayden, a former popstar, has kept himself hidden away for years. He's only opened up his home to two people - Crystal, a professional dancer with a heart of gold, and Joy, an ill-tempered retiree with a soft spot for waifs and strays. 

When Crystal asks Hayden if Ayesha and Sabina can stay with them, he reluctantly agrees and, as different as they may be, they quickly form an unlikely bond. So when enemies threaten their peaceful home, they will do all they can to save it and each other.

Title: A Place To Call Home
Author: Carole Matthews
Buy A Place To Call Home

Friday, 18 April 2014

Fairytale Of New York by Miranda Dickinson.

As someone who has never been to New York I cannot get enough of books set in the city, there really does seem to be something enchanting about the place, and if you didn't feel it before reading this book then you'll be a New York convert by the end.

In this book we learn Rosie's story as she sees her New York floristry business expand rapidly whilst through the associates press attention she receives, she struggles to hide her past from those closest to her.

There are so many wonderful characters in this book, Rosie is a very loveable character; strong in so many ways yet hiding from her own past as she feels to fragile to face it.  Her colleagues at the shop seem like such brilliant friends to have and are such fun characters to read about. 

There is a secret that runs through the book, keeping you intrigued and keen to keep reading.  So coupled with the fantastic setting and fun filled characters this is a great read.

This is the first of Miranda Dickinson's books yet somehow it's turned out to be the last one of hers I've read as I'm making my way through her fabulous collection.  Definitely a great book to choose if you're in need of some warm and fluffy chick-lit to cheer you up.

The back page blurb:
Once upon a time an English girl went to New York to live out her very own fairytale…
Florist Rosie Duncan's life couldn't be better, she has a flourishing business on New York's Upper West Side and fantastic friends. Moving to Manhattan feels like the best decision she ever made. Even though at the time, it was her escape route from heartbreak . . .
For the past six years Rosie has kept her heart under lock and key, despite the protests of her closest friends - charming, commitment-phobic Ed, unlucky in love Marnie and the one-woman tornado that is Celia.
Then a blossoming friendship with publishing hot-shot Nate begins to shake Rosie's resolve at the same time as her brother arrives in the Big Apple, hiding a secret.
But a chance meeting brings Rosie face to face with her past, unravelling the mystery behind her arrival in New York. Rosie is forced to confront questions she has long been trying to ignore, including will she ever get her very own happy-ever-after?
A sparkling, romantic comedy about an English girl who finds herself in the city where dreams can come true - or so she thinks…

Title: Fairytale Of New York
Author: Miranda Dickinson

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Bumble The Brave Kitten by Sam Hay.

This is such a sweet little book.  It's so easy to read you'll whizz through it in no time.  The book is full of short stories showing the remarkable journeys some cats have to go on before they find a forever home.

I was a little worried that a book like this would make me cry with sad stories about kittens being mistreated and the like, but aside from a few moments when I wondered why people are so cruel to animals, this isn't a book that will upset any animal lovers, instead its a really feel good read with each cat that's featured having a happy ending.  Like always with books like this there are plenty of photos in the middle so you can meet the cats you're reading about.

This would be a great book for animal loving children as there are plenty of puzzles and fun facts in the back.  

Warm and fuzzy; one for all crazy cat ladies like me!

The back page blurb:
Bumble was only ten weeks old when she was found cowering alone in a hedgerow. She was starving, soaking wet and miles from home. Founded in 1927, Cats Protection is the UK's largest cat welfare charity. They rehome over 55,000 cats and kittens every year; some of which have been subjected to cruel abuse. Against the odds, many of these cats go on to live extraordinary lives and do amazing things: these are their stories.

Title: Bumble The Brave Kitten
Author: Sam Hay

The Other Half by Sarah Rayner.

I really enjoy books written by Sarah Rayner and this one is no exception.  Its a book with three main characters, James (the husband), Maggie (his wife) and Chloe (his mistress).  In the book we explore the relationships James has with each woman and how each affects the other.  I found it a really interesting book to read because as you get to know the characters you forget about the assumption of an affair always being wrong and instead allow the characters to shape your views as they explain the feelings behind the relationships.

I really liked all the characters, especially Maggie who was so strong. Part of the story is set in New York which I always love to read about.
Once I had got into the story I found myself whizzing through the book, unable to put it down as I got so absorbed into the characters lives.

This book is quite simple in terms of the storyline but the strength of the characters is really engaging making it a great read.

The back page blurb:
There are two sides to every story. In alternating chapters, a wife and a mistress tell all.

Title: The Other Half
Author: Sarah Rayner
Buy The Other Half here

Friday, 28 March 2014

Some Girls Do by Clodagh Murphy.

I was lucky enough to win a copy of this book and when it arrived two things struck me... firstly, I loved the cover, and secondly I wasn't sure it was for me.  But let me set things straight right from the off... this is now one of my favourite books - I adored it!

Forget any preconceptions you might have when you learn that this book is based on the author of a red hot sex blog who chooses to find herself a 'friend with benefits' so she can brush up on her skills.  I was expecting a book full of sordid sex scenes, and don't get me wrong, there are plenty of steamy scenes in this book, but it is so much more than just a bonkbuster.  This has to be one of the most romantic books I've read.  There were so many moments that made me feel all warm and fuzzy, and I was desperate for the right guy to come through in the end.  I got totally lost in the story, getting so absorbed I didn't want to put it down.

The sex scenes are really well written, like all of the book,  and blend seamlessly into the rest of the story.  All the characters are wonderful, Claire is such a normal girl who is so easy to relate to, battling everyday insecurities and later in the story a devastating heartbreak.  I really enjoyed getting to know Luca, he had a really deep back story, and I loved the way he was around Claire.  And Claire's Mum was just fabulous, the type of person I reckon everyone would love to meet.

I can't believe I hadn't heard of Clodagh's books before but I will certainly be reading more from her.  I would recommend this book to anyone, it really has something for everyone, but overall is that dream chick-lit we all hope to pick up... one that sweeps us up into it's achingly romantic story.  A dream to read.

The back page blurb:
Claire Kennedy is NiceGirl, the anonymous author of steamy online blog 'Scenes of a Sexual Nature'. An internet sensation, she attracts the attention of Mark Bell, a hot London publisher. But when it becomes clear that Mark is interested in more than just a book deal, Claire has to act fast. Because little does Mark know that NiceGirl is a lot more experienced in the bedroom than real-life Claire Kennedy.
Mark is offering Claire the life she's always dreamed of - a steady relationship, the literary world of London and a posh Highgate apartment.
But when Claire hires the services of struggling artist and commitment-phobe Luca to brush up on her sex skills, things get more complicated...
Great sex, friendship AND love ... can't a girl have it all?

Title: Some Girls Do
Author: Clodagh Murphy
Buy Some Girls Do

Monday, 24 March 2014

The Time Of Our Lives by Jane Costello.

Imagine winning a luxury holiday for you and two friends, arriving at your destination and then all kinds of things going wrong; well this is exactly what happened to Imogen in The Time Of Our Lives and it made a brilliantly fun read.

Imogen is a single Mum with a demanding job and doesn't find herself with much down time so when a friend of hers, Meredith, wins a VIP holiday to Barcelona they, together with friend Nicola, decide its about time they leave the kids and jobs at home and have a luxury holiday. I loved reading all about Barcelona as its the last place I went on holiday so it brought back lots of memories.  The group are staying in an amazing hotel which is great fun to read about.

I adored the characters in this book, especially Meredith who has been through some awful things in her past and takes some massive steps to move on during her getaway.  She managed to balance so many things in her life at once I have no idea how she copes.  But then again looking at some of the situations she gets herself into, maybe coping isn't the word for it!

The story is packed full of fun, sun and giggles.  Like in all Jane Costello books, the characters just pop out of the pages making it such an engaging story.  There are so many twists and turns while these three friends get themselves into some almighty pickles, that you'll be swept away in the story and will enjoy every second of it.  Definitely one to pack in your suitcase for laugh out loud beach reading.

The back page blurb:
Three best friends. One five-star hotel. Will it be the holiday of a lifetime ...? Imogen and her friends Meredith and Nicola have had their fill of budget holidays, cattle-class flights and 6 a.m. offensives for a space by the pool. So when Meredith wins a VIP holiday at Barcelona's hippest new hotel, they plan to sip champagne with the jet set, party with the glitterati and switch off in unapologetic luxury. But when the worst crisis of her working life erupts back home, Imogen has to juggle her BlackBerry with a Manhattan, while soothing a hysterical boss and hunting down an AWOL assistant. Between a robbery, a run-in with hotel security staff and an encounter on a nudist beach that they'd all rather forget, the friends stumble from one disaster to the next. At least Imogen has a distraction in the form of the gorgeous guy who's always in the right place at the very worst time. Until, that is, his motives start to arouse a few suspicions.

Title: The Time Of Our Lives
Author: Jane Costello
Buy The Time Of Our Lives

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Left Neglected by Lisa Genova.

I'm a huge fan of Lisa Genova; her books are always powerful and insightful.  In Left Neglected we meet Sarah who was a working mum with a massively busy schedule but after having a car accident her life slows down dramatically.  Sarah's injuries include Left Neglect. Caused by damage to the right hemisphere of the brain this means that she is no longer aware of the left of anything, starting with the left side of her own body and extending to the left side of everything in life.  I'd never heard of this condition before and was fascinated to learn the details of Sarah's circumstances and the remarkable way in which she overcame the obstacles caused by the Neglect.

This story is full of hope and positivity.  Sarah is such a strong character who was likeable from the first pages.  You really do travel along with her on her journey, learning so much and feeling every emotion along the way.

There are only a few characters in this book as it mainly revolves around Sarah, her husband, mother and children.  The family faces many problems alongside the neglect from money worries to the eldest of Sarah's children being diagnosed with ADD.  I really liked Sarah's Mum as a character too. The story is full of ups and downs but leaves you feeling incredibly positive and reinforces the fact that its the little things in life that are important.

Every time I read a Lisa Genova book I am swept away as the story unfolds, fall in love with the characters and feel like I learn such a lot..  An excellent read I would recommend to anyone.

The back page blurb:
One typical morning, Sarah Nickerson, a woman in her mid-thirties, is late for work, racing in her car after dropping her kids off at school and daycare. She tries to phone in to a meeting she should already be at when she takes her eye off the road for a second too long. In that blink of an eye, all the rapidly moving parts of her over-scheduled life come to a screeching halt. Sarah suffers a traumatic head injury. Her memory and intellect are intact, but she has lost all interest in, and the ability to perceive, information coming from the left side of space. The left side of her world has gone. Sarah only eats the food from the right side of her plate. She can't see her watch, or her engagement diamond or her wedding ring. She tries to use a wheel chair but can only spin in circles as her left arm dangles by her side.

Title: Left Neglected
Author: Lisa Genova

Sunday, 9 March 2014

The Memory Game by Sharon Sant.

I'm not normally one for ghost stories but something about this book captured my interest.

It's not a ghost story in the spooky sense but it definitely makes you think.  After all, none of us know what really happens once someone's passed away... and maybe it is just like this book describes... we hang around until our unfinished business is put to rest.

After David passes away he forms a bond with someone he never had any time for when he was alive, a girl at his school called Bethany.
Despite living in different worlds they form a strong bond and the story pushes their new friendship to its limits.

This is a really interesting book to read.  The mystery of it keeps you turning pages and there are a few really tense parts of the story which keep you gripped to every word.  Throw in a bit of romance and you have an all round great read.

The back page blurb:
If there is a hell, I think maybe this is it. 

Weeks after fifteen-year-old David is killed by a speeding driver, he’s still hanging around and he doesn’t know why. The only person who can see and hear him is the girl he spent his schooldays bullying. 

Bethany is the most hated girl at school. She hides away, alone with her secrets until, one day, the ghost of a boy killed in a hit-and-run starts to haunt her. 

Together, they find that the end is only the beginning… 
The Memory Game is a ghost story like none you’ve seen before. 

Title: The Memory Game
Author: Sharon Sant
Buy The Memory Game - it's only 99p on Kindle!

The Great Escape by Fiona Gibson.

This was such a fabulous book.  I couldn't put it down, and enjoyed every minute of it.  Totally brilliant chick-lit escapism.

We meet three friends who go away together for the weekend, to enjoy a long needed catch up and celebrate a hen weekend.  Straight away I fell in love with the main characters Hannah, Sadie and Lou. They are all so normal that it's really easy to relate to their situations. They share a really strong bond and I found myself wishing I could go away for a catch-up with my friends just like they're doing.

Despite each of the characters having their own problems to deal with they all wanted to best for each other and the story was full of optimism and positivity, and the belief that it really is easy to change a bad situation and make it into something better.  I was really inspired by the characters, and its always so comforting to know other poeple have the same insecurities as you.

I really felt I bonded with each character, despite some of their lives being a little different to mine, and enjoyed reading about their individual and collective journeys. It was fun and laughter all the way, and had me laughing out loud in places.

The settings in this book are wonderful too; I'm finding myself drawn towards the idea of a weekend away in Glasgow now!

The back page blurb:
Hannah’s getting married… and has serious pre-wedding jitters. She adores Ryan but can’t figure out how to fit into his grown-up, family-sized life. There’s that fridge, for starters. That, too, is family-sized, with a gadget on the front that spits ice in her face. More alarming still are Ryan’s children, Daisy, 10 and Josh, 13, who clearly don’t relish the prospect of Hannah, a free-spirited greetings card illustrator, becoming their step-mum.
So she fires off invitations to a hen weekend – just the ticket to get her into the marrying mood. Trouble is…
New mum Sadie is leaving her twin babies for the very first time with their terrified dad…
Lou is unaware that her long-term man Spike is desperate to bundle her onto that Glasgow-bound train so he can hot-foot it round to see his secret fling Miranda…
And, unbeknown to the girls, Johnny, their sexy upstairs neighbour from their art college days, is still frequenting those haunts, desperately in need of a little magic to happen.

Title: The Great Escape
Author: Fiona Gibson

Sunday, 2 March 2014

A Little Love by Amanda Prowse.

A beautiful cover and a beautiful story.

Meet Pru; a strong and incredibly loveable heroine with a secret in her past which could cause everything she has worked so hard for to come crashing down around her.

Set in London, Pru and her cousin Milly are the owners of an upmarket bakery.  (Be warned that reading about their many delicious creations will make your mouth water!)  During the course of this story they will experience romance, loss, hope and devastation which sees their strong relationship tested to its limits.

I loved everything about this book, from the setting in central London to the whole host of strong vibrant characters who you fall in love with straight away.  I particularly loved Bobby and Meg who both seemed to move on from the insecurities of their pasts to become bubbly, optimistic characters.  
There are twists and turns throughout the story but despite this it was such a laid-back book to read.  I found myself getting lost in the story and before I knew it pages had flown by as I was engrossed in the plot. 

This book proves that love can happen to anyone, at any age; and that we never know what life will throw at us.  It was uplifting to read and a wonderful book to escape into.

This is the first book I have read by Amanda Prowse and it certainly won't be my last.

The back page blurb:
Everybody needs a little love in their lives...
Pru Plum is the celebrated owner of a famous Mayfair bakery. She wears Chanel and her hair is expensively cut. Few would believe that this elegant woman turned sixty-six last year.
But Pru is not the confident, successful businesswoman she appears. She has done shameful things to get to where she is today. And she will do anything to protect the secrets of her past - especially when, for the first time in her life, she has finally fallen in love...
From bestselling author Amanda Prowse, this is a story about love, loss and lies - and finding happiness before it's too late.

Title: A Little Love
Author: Amanda Prowse
Buy A Little Love

The Bear by Claire Cameron.

This is an interesting, and rather creepy book, told through the eyes of a child who has experienced something horrific.  It tells the story of her and her younger brother's journey in the aftermath of a bear attack which splits their family in half.

It took me a little while to get into the flow of the writing, but once I had got used to experiencing the story through a child's eyes it was gripping to read.  There is so much confusion in the story as to what the children believe to have happened, perhaps it is preferable for them to deny what they know to be true and pretend that everything is really okay and Mummy and Daddy will be right back.

Essentially this is a heartbreaking story of survival as we see a young girl try her best to look after her younger brother whilst lost in the wilderness and in danger of further attack.

What makes the story so creepy is that it is based on true events.  Knowing situations such as this could actually happen in real life makes the story that much harder to leave and drives your imagination crazy with what-ifs.

This book will give you something a little different.  Interesting, brave and incredibly sad the story will stay with you long after reading.

The back page blurb:
Mummy never yells. Mostly not ever. Except sometimes.

Title: The Bear
Author: Claire Cameron
Buy The Bear

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Bad Angels by Rebecca Chance.

Another classic Bonkbuster from sassy author Rebecca Chance.

This is a story set at Christmas time, but it's not a festive read in that sense so don't worry about leaving it until December before you take the plunge, it's a fun story you could read any time.

Set in an very posh apartment block the book has many characters all of whom either live or work in the building.  There is Melody, an actress who has just undergone plastic surgery; Jon, an ex-hitman, Andy the gay concierge; and that's just a few of the loveable, yet troubled characters you'll meet in this book.

In classic Rebecca Chance style their is A LOT of naughtiness in this book with all the characters having love interests and affairs with one and other.  It's so much fun to read and the variety of stories from the different characters mean there's never a dull moment as all the plots unfold.

I love the luxurious lifestyles lead by the characters in Limehouse Wharf, it is literally a totally different world from the one I live in and so reading about their extravagances is such wonderful escapism.  The sheer variety of characters and situations means that this is a really interesting book, packed full of fun and frolics, and ever so slightly x-rated too!

The back page blurb:
Step into Limehouse Wharf, the new, uber-luxury apartment building in Canary Wharf where celebrities who have had 'work' done can hole up until they have healed and which is about to see its most glamorous and scandalous Christmas yet. Staying there over the festive period is Melody Down, an actress whose career is in tatters after too much plastic surgery and who has fled LA to get her body and her boyfriend back. But is a 'well-meaning' friend about to sabotage all of Melody's Christmas wishes? Meanwhile, Aniela Fatyga, the nurse in residence, finds herself falling for the unlikely Jon Jordan, an assassin for hire who is also convalescing there. Will her feelings be reciprocated or will their sizzling relationship remain purely physical? And who is he on the run from? And then there's oligarch Grigor Khalofsky, the owner of Kensington football team, whose legendary Christmas party is about to get a whole lot more exciting when murder, blackmail and scandalous revelations decide to pay a visit along with Santa.

Title: Bad Angels
Author: Rebecca Chance

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Zenith Hotel by Oscar Coop-Phane.

This is a short snappy book telling the story of a street prostitute working in France.  Rather than it being a deep and meaningful book looking at her history, and how it made her turn to prostitution, instead the book focuses on just one day in her life and tells the story of the clients she meets that day.

I felt like this book was full of mystery.  I was intrigued to learn more about Nanou and the life she leads, yet the majority of the book explains the lives of the men she meets.  Each man's story was so interesting and what I wondered as reading was whether it was the true story of their lives, or just Nanou's interpretation as to what their circumstances could be based on her interaction with them.

This is quite a dark story, which was really interesting and totally captured my imagination.  A definite if you're looking for a quick read which is a bit different from the usual books on your shelf.

The back page blurb:
I'm a street prostitute. Not a call girl or anything. No, a real street whore, with stiletto heels and menthol cigarettes. Narrator Nanou gives a detailed account of her day, from the moment she wakes up with a foul taste in her mouth, in her sordid rented room, until the minute she crawls back into her bed at night to sleep. Interwoven with her story are portraits of her clients. Oscar Coop-Phane invents an astonishing cast of original and deeply human characters losers, defeated by the world around them who seek solace in Nanou s arms. Original and moving, this short book deftly paints a world of solitude and sadness, illuminated by precious moments of tenderness and acts of kindness.

Title: Zenith Hotel
Author: Oscar Coop-Phane

A Hundred Pieces Of Me by Lucy Dillon.

A beautiful and inspirational book.

When I first got this book I was bowled over by how beautiful the cover was but the story inside is much more wonderful.

When reading A Hundred Pieces Of Me you will enter Gina's world whilst she is coming to the end of a divorce and about to begin a new life on her own.  As someone who has been through so much in her life, Gina's positive outlook is in inspiration and I felt instantly drawn to her character.  Like all the characters in this book, she had real depth, and truly felt like someone I would love to know in real life.  For fans of Lucy Dillon's writing we meet Rachel again, who returns from Lost Dog and Lonely Hearts, I love it when we get to meet a loveable character again.  But you'll also meet Gina's friends new characters Nick and Naomi.

I truly couldn't put this book down and was reading another few pages at every opportunity I got.  Despite loving this book I'm finding it quite hard to explain exactly why, all I can say is there was something magical about it, that meant reading it made me feel truly calm and swept away into a different world.

This is really a story of hope and realising that all is not lost even when you think it is.  There is a beautiful sense of romance and optimism that will keep you turning pages.

I would most definitely recommend.

The back page blurb:
Letters from the only man she's ever loved.
A keepsake of the father she never knew.
Or just a beautiful glass vase that catches the light, even on a grey day.
If you had the chance to make a fresh start, what would you keep from your old life? What would you give away?
Gina Bellamy is starting again, after a difficult few years she'd rather forget. But the belongings she's treasured for so long just don't seem to fit who she is now.
So Gina makes a resolution. She'll keep just a hundred special items - the rest can go.
But that means coming to terms with her past and learning to embrace the future, whatever it might bring . . .

Title: A Hundred Pieces Of Me
Author: Lucy Dillon
Release date: 27 February 2014
Buy A Hundred Pieces of Me

Saturday, 22 February 2014

The Wedding Cake Tree by Melanie Hudson.

This is quite simply a wonderful book that will make you want to plant your very own memory tree.

I was swept away into the story from the start.  As soon as Grace finds out about the mysterious holiday her Mum had arranged for her before she passed away, I was intrigued about the secrets that she would uncover along the way.  The story unfolded slowly and meant that chapter after chapter were full of interesting twists and turns, and revelations that took me completely by surprise.

The hero of the story, Royal Marine, Alasdair, was such a strong character, yet with a very soft centre.  In my eyes he was the perfect gentleman and I was desperate for romance to develop between him and Grace.

By the time I had finished this book I felt drained, but in a good way.  I'd been on such a journey with the characters.  There were tears, and I was nearly screaming at Grace at one point, not wanting her to miss her chance of true love.  Yet along side this, the story was one full of hope and optimism which made for a really inspiring read.

If you read this book you will be treated to a journey passing through many wonderful settings, with very realistic and loveable characters, experiencing raw emotions that will keep you gripped through every page. I thoroughly recommend it.

Oh and in case anyone else was wondering... this is what a real Wedding Cake Tree looks like.
This book is brought to you from the publisher ChocLit so I must take a moment to describe Alasdair as if he were a chocolate bar (because I love this idea!).  I think he would definitely be a Snickers... a strong core, yet he has a soft caramel layer running through him, and the nuts, well they would signify the hard times he's been through which he will always carry with him.

The back page blurb:
Can a mother’s secret past provide the answers for a daughter’s future? 
Celebrity photographer Grace Buchanan has always known that, one day, she’d swap her manic day job for the peace and quiet of her beloved childhood cottage, St Christopher’s – she just didn’t expect it to be so soon. 
At the reading of her mother’s will, she’s shocked to learn that she hardly knew Rosamund at all, and that inheriting St Christopher’s hangs on one big – and very inconvenient – condition: Grace must drop everything for two weeks and travel the country with a mysterious stranger – war-weary Royal Marine, Alasdair Finn. 
Caught in a brief but perfect moment in time, Grace and Alasdair walk in Rosamund’s footsteps and read her letters at each breathtaking new place. As Grace slowly uncovers the truth about her mother’s incredible life story, Alasdair and Grace can’t help but question their own futures. Will Rosamund’s madcap scheme go to plan or will events take an unexpected turn? 
An emotional, fun-filled and adventurous journey of a lifetime.

Title: The Wedding Cake Tree
Author: Melanie Hudson
Buy The Wedding Cake Tree

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Channel Blue by Jay Martel.

Every now and again I love to read something completely different from my usual chick-lit and this book was a great change.

Forget boy meets girl and think boy meets alien producer of a TV series in which Earth is the main entertainment, and endeavours to save the world from destruction.

The main character in this book is just an ordinary everyday guy until one day he wanders where he shouldn't and discovers a secret that changes his entire view of the world.  What I really enjoyed about this book was the way in which is made me think about every day things we take for granted, why we do things and even, what is the meaning of life?  By looking at the world from a completely different point of view it was really interesting, and sometimes comical, to see our lives through the eyes of someone else; even if that someone else is an alien intent on destroying our home planet!

Despite being totally 'out there' I found the description of the alien world, and Earth's place in the galaxy was really well described, made sense and was very believable.  I like to read things which make me question my own values, and this book really made me think about the world we live in.

The main characters are very engaging and there's a lot going on in the story.  Predominantly a story full of action and intrigue there's a bit of romance thrown in there too, and even some interbreeding between species.  There really is something for everyone in this book!

Channel Blue was fun to read, a really fresh idea and really interesting.  If you like books that will make you think whilst you're being entertained then this one's for you.

The back page blurb:
Earth used to be Galaxy Entertainment's most lucrative show. The inhabitants of the Western Galaxy - the saviest, richest demographic in the Milky Way - just couldn't get enough of the day-to-day details of the average Earthling's life.
But Channel Blue's ratings are flagging and its producers are planning a spectacular finale. In just three weeks, their TV show will go out with a bang. The trouble is, so will Earth.
Only one man can save our planet and he's hardly a likely hero...

Title: Channel Blue
Author: Jay Martel
Buy Channel Blue here

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Fractured by Dani Atkins.

I'd heard some really good things about this book, and I can now say they were all true.

We meet Rachel who after waking up from a concussion and realises life is not at all as she remembers it.  I don't want to say too much because I really loved the fact that I was reading this book without any idea where the story was going.  But I can say that the characters in this book are wonderful.  Straight away I was on Rachel's side, willing things to turn out well for her, she's such a realistic character, and remains so despite the very unusual situation she finds herself in.  Her relationship with Jimmy is so special and you see her ride so many emotions during it.

I loved how believable this book was.  There was a real mystery running right through the story, and I genuinely had no idea how the book would end.  And when I got to the ending it was gripping: I got lost in every word.

If you're looking for something a little bit different from your plain old ordinary chick-lit then I would recommend Fractured.  Full of lovely characters this story will keep you guessing and turning pages right up until the end. 

The back page blurb:
What would you do if life gave you a second chance?
The night of the accident changed everything... Now, five years on, Rachel's life is crumbling. She lives alone in a tiny flat, working in a dead-end job, desperate with guilt over her best friend's death. She would give anything to turn back the clock. But life doesn't work like that... Does it?
The night of the accident was a lucky escape... Now, five years on, Rachel's life is perfect. She has a wonderful fiancé, loving family and friends around her, and the career she always wanted. But why can't Rachel shake the memory of a very different life?

Title: Fractured
Author: Dani Atkins

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Made In Nashville by Mandy Baggot.

This is my first novel by Mandy Baggot and it certainly won't be my last.  Think stetsons, singing and sexy men!

Firstly let me say that if like me you're a fan of the tv series Nashville then YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE THIS BOOK!!! But even if you're not a fan of Country music, don't let that put you off... country aside, this is an awesome chick-lit read.  It's a story stuffed full of romance, sexy guys and some intriguing back stories which keep you wondering that will happen next to the main characters Honor and Jared.

These two have to be one of the most sizzling couples I've read about. The both sound gorgeous, with really rich and interesting history's which give the characters real depth.  The chemistry between them had me hooked right from the start, there is a real electricity between the them and it's so much fun to read how their relationship develops.
Honor has had a tough time in the past and has lost confidence in her ability to rock her own style of country music on stage.  As I got into the story I got right behind her, cheering her on in the hopes that she could live her dreams once again.
I also really liked Honor's best friend Mia.  She seemed like such fun to have around, as well as a really supportive friend.

There really wasn't anything not to like about this book.  The setting was brilliant, full of musical references and there was even a cameo from stars of the Nashville tv show.   There is tension and heartbreak in this story, but most of all you'll fall in love with Honor and Jared; their steamy romance and the crazy lives they lead as country stars in Nashville.

The back page blurb:
Made in Nashville…feel the country!
An on-stage attack left Honor Blackwood with more scars than just the one on her face. It’s been ten years since she left her spot as Nashville’s brightest country music star. Is now the time to return? And is she brave enough to do it?
Country rebel and rock star, Jared ‘Jed’ Marshall is hot property on the Tennessee music scene in more ways than one. He’s wild, he’s sexy and everybody wants a piece of him. But when he sets his sights on Honor, is it pure attraction or just distraction on his mind?
Honor’s record label sign the ex-boyfriend that dumped her and suddenly going back to her old life is harder than she thought. And when a secret from the past becomes public knowledge it’s no longer just about the music… Are all the people in her life lying to her to get what they want?
Join the country scene to find out!
Made in Nashville – where the off-stage action’s as hot as the music!

Title: Made In Nashville
Author: Mandy Baggot
Buy it here

Sunday, 9 February 2014

How To Get A (Love) Life by Rosie Blake.

This is another wonderfully fun and fast paced book from the fabulous new digital publisher Novelicious.

In it we meet Nicola who is challenged by her colleague Caroline to find herself a date ready for Valentines day, which is a mere three months away.  In order to meet the dare Nicola throws herself into a variety of new situations; not particularly easy when you're used to living alone and are totally stuck in your own routine.

I really enjoyed reading this story.  The characters are so bubbly and fun to get to know.  I particularly loved Nicola's bat-loving-brother and also her colleague Caroline.  Watching Nicola come out of herself and chill out a bit was lovely and she get's up to so much in her quest to find a date... she tries everything from golf, DIY classes and all weather watersports and even books herself on a singles holiday.  But will she find love in the end?  You'll just have to pick up a copy of How To Get A (Love) Life and find out.

At only 220 pages this is a short, but fast paced story and is so easy to read you'll just whiz through it.  Definitely one for fans of chick-lit, plus it's a bargain on Kindle right now.... http://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Love-Life-Rosie-Blake-ebook/dp/B00I1OUFVG

The back page blurb:
Some people book last-minute holidays, walk barefoot in the grass or party on a week night. Not Nicola Brown. Nicola is the kind of girl who double-locks the front door, leaves the plastic covering on new furniture, sticks to a super-strict diet and definitely, absolutely Does Not Date. 

Her colleague Caroline – loopy, warm and exasperated by her, knows that Nicola’s reluctance to lose control means she’s living only half a life. And so she lays down the gauntlet: Nicola must cast aside her hang ups and go on as many dates as it takes to find true love in time for Valentine’s Day. 

The pick of local men is, quite frankly, a bit rubbish. And there are only three months until February 14th. Surely it’s an impossible task? But, as Nicola is about to find out on her dodgy dates, letting go isn’t quite as scary as she imagined. In fact, it’s rather a lot of fun…

Title: How To Get A (Love) Life
Author: Rosie Blake @RosieBBooks

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Shopaholic Ties The Knot by Sophie Kinsella.

It really is such a heart-warming, feel-good book.

I am so glad I started the Shopaholic books.  I may be a bit behind the rest of the world, but the stories haven't changed at all since they were published in the early 2000's and are still incredibly relevant... after all, we all still love a good shopping spree don't we.

In this book we see Rebecca attending the wedding of her best friend, and from there the wedding frenzy just spirals out of control. Literally.

Rebecca and Luke are living in New York during this book but they travel back to England more than once, so we get to enjoy the details of both countries.  Some of the locations we see Becky in New York sound amazing.

All our favourite characters are back in this instalment of the series, plus we get to know Luke's Mum much better.

Like all the shopaholic books, this one was so much fun to read.  It really is such a heart-warming, feel-good book.  Reading it is so easy I just breezed through it, once again loving Becky's crazy spending habit, and her ability to let things get so wildy out of control without even being aware of it.

If you're looking for total escapism then these books are perfect.  Why not pick one up and join Becky in her naive, wonderful world where you can never spend too much.

Shopaholic and sister here I come...

The back page blurb:
Rebecca Bloomwood has the dream job. She's a personal shopper, so is able to spend other people's money all day instead of her own. And she gets paid for doing it. The perfect job, the perfect man - gorgeous Luke Brandon - and now ... the perfect wedding.
Yes, Luke has proposed and wedding bells are in sight. No excuses are needed to start the shopping trip of all time. And Becky's parents are just assuming that the wedding will be at home - a marquee in the garden and Becky in her mum's wedding dress, which she's been saving specially for the occasion. But Luke's mother has very different ideas - a huge affair in New York in a forest glade setting - or perhaps a Venetian Ball, or a fin de siecle extravagance?
Now Becky's getting confused. She doesn't want to say 'no' to anyone. The plans are going ahead, and soon it will be too late to turn back - from either wedding...

Title: Shopaholic Ties The Knot
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Shopaholic Series #3

Monday, 3 February 2014

Here's Looking At You by Mhairi McFarlane.

I loved Mhairi McFarlane's first book 'You Had Me At Hello' and so was really looking forward to reading her second novel. Unfortunately I was a little disappointed.  Maybe it's just because I was SO overwhelmed when reading her first, but I felt this was just another average chick-lit.

We meet Anna who has transformed herself since her school days and gone from school geek and become quite a beauty. She ends up working with one of the bullies she encountered at school, but he doesn't realise it's her.  As there friendship develops she struggles to find the right time to tell him about their past.

Anna is a lecturer and keen historian which was interesting and there were definitely some heart-warming parts of this book.

There were parts of this book I enjoyed; I think I was just hoping for something more after how much I enjoyed Mhairi's first book.  But this is a nice chick-lit read which I'm sure chick-lit fans would enjoy.

The back page blurb:
Anna Alessi – history expert, possessor of a lot of hair and an occasionally filthy mouth – seeks nice man for intelligent conversation and Mills & Boon moments.
Despite the oddballs that keep turning up on her dates, Anna couldn’t be happier. As a 30-something with a job she loves, life has turned out better than she dared dream. However, things weren’t always this way, and her years spent as the ‘Italian Galleon’ of an East London comprehensive are ones she’d rather forget.
So when James Fraser – the architect of Anna’s final humiliation at school – walks back into her life, her world is turned upside down. But James seems a changed man. Polite. Mature. Funny, even. People can change, right? So why does Anna feel like she’s a fool to trust him?

Title: Here's Looking At You
Author: Mhairi McFarlane