Right now I'm reading...

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

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 fiancĂ©, 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

Sunday, 2 February 2014

The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan.

I've just got engaged so my attention was grabbed by the title of this book as soon as I saw it on the library shelf.  In it we meet several characters, living completely different lives, in different generations and having completely opposing views on the 'romance' of engagements and marriage.

The character we meet initially, Mary, was in my opinion the main character in the book, a copywriter living in 1940s America.  The work she does influences the future of all the other characters and I was really intrigued by how it seems the diamond industry related to engagement rings has used advertising to influence people's views.

There are lots of other characters in this book, with each chapter switching in and out of their stories.

I particularly enjoyed the part of the book set in Paris, loving the description of the City as the character reminisced on her back story; and was at times shocked by how extreme her reaction to her current situation was.

It wasn't right until the end of the book that each of the characters' stories came together and I loved how all of a sudden you could see connections between the characters which you would never have considered previously.

It did take me a little bit of time to get into the story initially, but once I got to know all the characters this was a really interesting book.  Plenty of different and very interesting stories to delve into, and I even found it challenging my view of 'the engagement ring'.  All in all a really interesting read.

The back page blurb:
1947: Mary Frances Gerety, a young copywriter in an eminent advertising agency, has to convince the world of two things - that marriage means a diamond ring on every woman's finger, and that she is as good at her job as any man. And then, in one moment of brilliant inspiration, Mary Frances writes down four words which will achieve both her aims . . .
Moving from a Harvard swim-meet in 1927 to the three-martini lunches of 1940s advertising, from the back streets of 1980s Boston to an exquisite Parisian music shop in 2003, The Engagements is a novel about love, marriage, commitment and betrayal; it is as sharp, as fiery and as beautiful as the stone we have taken to represent our dreams.

Title: The Engagements
Author: J. Courtney Sullivan