Right now I'm reading...

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

Monday, 29 July 2013

Still Alice by Lisa Genova.

This book is a reminder of how precious life is, and that you shouldn't take your memories for granted, because as Alice shows us, your life can change completely when those memories start to fade.

I was drawn into this book straight away and couldn't stop reading it.

It's a devastatingly sad tale of Alice, a Harvard professor, who is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's.  The books takes you on her journey from diagnosis and through her steady decline.  It is told from Alice's point of view which I found intriguing, as so often with stories of Alzheimer's the story focuses on the family and friends of the patient, however here we see the effect the disease has in the first person.

I had a particular interest in this book as my Gran has Alzheimer's and we have watched her steady decline over many years.  Whilst this is always a tragic disease, I couldn't help but feel so very sad for Alice as she was only in her fifties when she began to decline.

I loved Alice as a character, and was totally behind her the whole way.  Parts of this book will break your heart, and it will make you cry, but it's worth it.  I found it to be a totally absorbing read, and I feel like I have learnt a lot more about the disease, despite already having some experience of it.

This book is a reminder of how precious life is, and that you shouldn't take your memories for granted, because as Alice shows us, your life can change completely when those memories start to fade.

Title: Still Alice
Author: Lisa Genova

Saturday, 27 July 2013

White Bones by Graham Masterton.

This book was originally called 'A Terrible Beauty' but was renamed 'White Bones' for UK readers.  It tells the story of modern day ritualistic killings which follow on from the discovery a large quantity of human remains believed to have been buried many years ago.

Set in Ireland, we meet Detective Katie Mcguire for the first time and follow her on a journey trying to solve these horrific crimes.  When I say the crimes are horrific, prepare yourself for some very gruesome and detailed descriptions of the killings (and the torture which takes place before the deaths) it's not something I normally read and I can't say I enjoyed those parts of the book.  There are lots of characters in the book but not too many that it becomes confusing trying to keep track of everyone.

There are plenty of moments when you wonder who the murderer is and some intriguing twists and turns.

As long as you're prepared for the gory details, this is a fast paced, dark and disturbing thriller of a book, and a book worth reading.

The back page blurb:
One wet November morning, a field on Meagher's Farm gives up the dismembered bones of eleven women. In this part of Ireland, unmarked graves are common. But these bones date to 1915, long before the Troubles. What's more, these bones bear the marks of a meticulous executioner. These women were almost certainly skinned alive.
Detective Katie Maguire, of the Cork Garda, is used to dead bodies. But this is wholesale butchery. Her team think these long-dead women are a waste of police time. Katie is determined to give them justice.
And then a young American tourist goes missing, and her bones, carefully stripped of flesh, are discovered on the same farm. With the crimes of the past echoing in the present, Katie must solve a decades-old ritualistic murder before this terrifying killer strikes again.

Title: White Bones (aka. A Terrible Beauty)
Author: Graham Masterton

Summer Daydreams by Carole Matthews.

This is another lovely warm book from Chick-lit extraordinaire Carole Matthews.

It's a very simple story, there's no page turning mystery carrying you through the book, but it's so enjoyable because it's so simple.  This book really does just take you into Nell's world with her as she attempts to start up her dream business whilst juggling family life, friends and finances.

Despite having no money Nell really does seem to have the perfect life;  this being a wonderful daughter and a loving husband.  Much like 'The Only Way Is Up' (a Carole Matthews favourite of mine) Carole is brilliant at reminding us that family and friends are the important things in life, and if you're lucky enough to have money too well then that's just a bonus.

This is a heartwarming story that is very easy to read.  Perfect for holidays and sitting in the sunshine.

The back page blurb:
Nell McNamara has a happy life: her boyfriend Olly adores her, their four-year-old daughter Petal is the centre of their world and Nell has a steady job in the local chip shop. When the chippy needs a makeover, Nell jumps at the chance to unleash the creativity fizzing inside her. Inspired by what she can achieve – and encouraged by the best friends a girl can have – Nell is determined to try something new. Waving goodbye to the chip shop, she starts up a new business making her own line of must-have handbags, which are soon flying off the shelves! It seems Nell’s dreams are finally coming true, but her success doesn’t come without a price. Before too long, Nell has to ask herself if it’s really possible to have it all…
Title: Summer Daydreams
Author: Carole Matthews

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Sunshine With a Chance of Snow by Carole Matthews.

I'm not normally a fan of short stories, preferring to get my teeth into a 'real' book, but I really enjoyed this one.

I felt like I knew the characters straight away.  The storyline was moving and quite unexpected, which I felt reflected the theme of the story very well.  The twist creeps up on you unexpectedly, much like I imagine it would if played out in real life. (You'll understand when you read it!)

It's available for free download now, but hurry, it's only free until the end of July.

The back back blurb (if Kindle's have back pages)
Beth and Michael have worked hard all their married life to give their children everything they want. It hasn't been easy but it's been worth it. Now, as Beth enjoys quality time with her family on their beach holiday, she knows she has a lot to be thankful for. But it's not until she's faced with her biggest challenge yet that Beth really begins to understand how lucky she is. 

Title: Sunshine With a Chance of Snow
Author: Carole Matthews
Short Story

Sunday, 21 July 2013

The Wish List by Jane Costello.

How to recognise a good book:
1) You repeatedly laugh out loud whilst reading.
2) You become slightly panicked when you realise you're reaching the end of the book.
3) It's written by Jane Costello.

I've read and enjoyed Jane Costello books before, Bridesmaids being a favourite of mine, but this has to be Jane's best book.  It is so funny I was snorting out loud which made it difficult to read in public, and I had to take a break from reading it at one point because I was getting too giddy to carry on!

This book follows Emma as she tries her best to complete every task on her 'Wish List', things that she hopes to achieve before her 30th birthday.  I found myself getting so swept away with the characters and their relationships that at times I forgot that the book was about the wish list.

Emma is a brilliantly neurotic character, with fabulous friends and she's in the enviable position of having handsome men falling all over her.  The situations she gets herself into are so funny, yet at the same time there are many touching moments in this book.

I would totally recommend this book, it's feel-good, laugh out loud and leaves you feeling all warm and fuzzy.  The perfect read.

The Back Page Blurb:
There are six months left of Emma Reiss's twenties...and she has some unfinished business. Emma and her friends are about to turn thirty, and for Emma it's a defining moment. Defined, that is, by her having achieved none of the things she'd imagined she would. Her career is all wrong, her love life is a desert and that penthouse apartment she pictured herself in simply never materialised. Moreover, she's never jumped out of a plane, hasn't met the man she's going to marry, has never slept under the stars, or snogged anyone famous - just some of the aspirations on a list she and her friends compiled fifteen years ago. As an endless round of birthday parties sees Emma hurtle towards her own thirtieth, she sets about addressing these issues. But, as she discovers with hilarious consequences, some of them are trickier to tick off than she'd thought…

Title: The Wish List
Author: Jane Costello

Saturday, 20 July 2013

A Passionate Love Affair With A Total Stranger by Lucy Robinson.

Chick-lit with a crazy concept.

I had never heard of people ghost writing on dating websites and if it weren't for me watching an interview with Lucy Robinson I don't think I would have believed it was real.  Scarily, this stuff actually happens out there in the cyber dating world.

Let's be honest; I can't really relate to workaholic Charley, unlike her I really don't take my job too seriously, but she is a very likeable character.  Her relationship with flatmate Sam, and her family was lovely to read. And I would really like a dog like their family dog.

I can't say this was the best chick-lit book I've ever read, not that there's anything wrong with it, it just lacked that special something to make it stand out from the crowd.  But it's a pleasant read non-the-less.

Title: A Passionate Love Affair With A Total Stranger
Author: Lucy Robinson

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

A Summer Fling by Milly Johnson.

A book that is full of sunshine...

I love Milly Johnson books and I loved reading A Summer Fling. I had saved reading it until I felt summer was here and I think I can safely say Summer is now here.  Hello Sunshine.

Like all Milly's books, this one has everything you could wish for from a chick-lit story. Solid characters with plenty of scope for romance and friendship in their lives.  Some of the characters have difficult issues to deal with, but these are offset by the lighthearted, feel good storylines of the other characters.

There are five leading ladies, all of whom are warm with strong personalities.  And despite flicking in and out of each of their different stories, the plot is very easy to follow.
The chapters in this book are really short and snappy too, which I love if you're dipping in and out of the book.

All in all this is a brilliant book, perfect for reading whilst sitting the summer sunshine (tried and tested and I promise it works).

Oh how I wish I worked in an office where we all get along as well as the 'Summer Fling' ladies...

Title: A Summer Fling
Author: Milly Johnson

Saturday, 13 July 2013

About A Girl by Lindsey Kelk.

I'm a huge Lindsey Kelk fan, her writing is always really funny, warm and it's addictive - I can never stop reading her books once I've started them.  And I'm so happy to see that this book marks the beginning of a new series,because I'm totally hooked on the 'I Heart' series, and I have a feeling this one will be just as good.

This book is set in Hawaii which sounds just as dreamy as I would imagine it to be.  I love the main character Tess, despite being in a slightly crazy situation, she seems so normally and I'd love to think we would be friends in real life (oh, if only Lindsey's books were real - life would be so much more fun.)

The writing is chocked full of hilarious one-liners, of which one of my favourite, without giving any of the story away, has to be: "Oh my God, your life is turning into a Taylor Swift song.  This is amazing." Love it!

If you like chick-lit then this book is for you, it's full of strong characters, laugh out loud moments, amazing settings, romance and strong friendships.  I particular love the character Al and his relationship with Tess.

The worse thing about this book is that I have to wait until the next book to continue Tess' story... I'm desperate to know what happens but the next installment in the series won't be published until next year.  Let the countdown begin...

Oh, and just so you know vampires and werewolves are out; it's all about #TeamCharlie v's #TeamNick.  And I'm #TeamNick all the way.

Title: About A Girl
Author: Lindsey Kelk
About A Girl Series #1

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Where We Belong by Emily Giffin.

I've read all Emily Giffin's books so was excited to read this one too.

Like all her books before, this is another heartwarming story with two really strong main characters.  Each character takes turns telling a chapter from their point of view which I really enjoyed, and found easy to follow despite it sounding a little confusing.

I found the relationship between Marian and Kirby very interesting. Adoption is not something I have any experience of and so understanding the feelings of the all the characters involved in this story was fascinating. Despite not having any experience to draw upon I really understood each characters viewpoint and felt I could identify with each of them.

This was a really warm and uplifting book, full of strong characters and very believe-able relationships.  All I can say is that I hope Emily Giffin keeps on writing, so my collection can keep on expanding.

Title: Where We Belong
Author: Emily Giffin

Billy Connolly's Route 66 by Billy Connolly.

It's always been a dream of mine to travel along Route 66 and watching Billy Connolly's three part TV series about his journey
along the famous road only inspired me more so I was keen to read the book too.

I really enjoyed this book, it made a refreshing change to read something factual as I'm a fiction fan most of the time.

Billy writes as if he's telling you the story of his journey in a very chatty manner, sometimes going off topic when he gets excited (or annoyed!) by a particular subject.  I really liked how Billy came across in the book, he seems like a really genuine guy with some strong, honest values.  But I have to admit that he may have put a damper on my dream of travelling The Mother Road, but only because he is honest about how much some of the towns along the route have declined since the road's hey-day.

There are photographs throughout the book and I really enjoyed seeing images of the places I'd read being described, it really brought the stories to life.

This book is packed full of facts and figures, history and most of all real human-interest stories; something for everyone I think.

Title: Billy Connolly's Route 66
Author: Billy Connolly

Friday, 5 July 2013

Leftovers by Stella Newman.

I've started to wonder if I'm getting too picky over my chick-lit; maybe because I read so much of it, but unfortunately it means that I wasn't to mad about this book.

On a plus point Leftovers has everything that anyone could want from a chick-lit book: its easy to read with a likeable main character... and there's a lot of food references: a bonus for a foodie like myself.

But I think in general this book just lacked that something special to make this story stand out from all the other chick-lits available on the bookshelf.

All in all it was enjoyable but I don't think I'll be rushing out to read Stella Newman's back catalogue any time soon.

Title: Leftovers
Author: Stella Newman