Right now I'm reading...

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

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