Saturday, 13 December 2014

The Separation by Dinah Jefferies


What happens when a mother and her daughters are separated; who do they become when they believe it might be forever?
1953, the eve of the Cartwright's departure from Malaya. Eleven-year-old Emma can't understand why they're leaving without their mother; why her taciturn father is refusing to answer questions.
Lydia arrives home to an empty house - there's no sign of her husband Alec or her daughters. Panic stricken, she embarks on a dangerous journey to find them through the hot and civil-war-torn Malayan jungle - one that only the power of a mother's love can help her to survive.

I have just finished reading The Separation by Dinah Jefferies which is an unbelievably stunning debut that took me on a journey I was not expecting. The storyline is set back in 1955 in Malaya around a family who have been separated. Mum Lydia Cartwright returns home to find their house empty, her husband and two daughters Emma and Fleur gone without a trace. She embarks on a heart breaking journey to try and find her family as she is given information that they have made their way to the north but her journey is a very traumatic and dangerous one but nothing can come between a mum and her love for her children.

This is a breath taking read and quite hard to believe that this is a debut because it was flawless. Such a captivating read that made it impossible to put down as there was always something gripping going on as the storyline was consistently fast paced and eventful all the way through.

The storyline alternates between Lydia and Emma, I think I warmed more to Emma because her part was told by first person narrative so we feel first hand her heart rending thoughts and feelings about being wrenched away from her mother. The part of Lydia was told in third person narrative so although we don’t hear first hand how she feels, it still was easy to see how desperate she was to find her children after such a cruel act of betrayal from her husband, we long for her to find the right path back to her daughters.

Although we know where the family are it doesn’t make this a predictable read because I still couldn’t see how or if Lydia would find them and also there were so many little twists and turns which I never could have predicted coming, I was so tense at times during this book!


The book shows the author’s passion and knowledge for the Emergency in Malaya which I confess I had no knowledge about so it was a real learning curve too that had me intrigued. This was an amazing read that I thoroughly enjoyed and will be recommending this one for a long time yet. I am so excited now to read the authors next release The Tea Planter’s Wife. 


Kindle                     Paperback

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

A Christmas Feast and Other Stories by Katie Fforde

I have always been a massive fan of Katie Fforde, her books were one of the first books I read as an adult and I have never found an author who writes similar books to her she just has her own little signature style of writing that just seems to wrap you up in a hug which is just want you need at this time of year so I didn’t hesitate in clicking for my copy of A Christmas Feast and Other Stories even if I am not a huge fan of short stories, I had faith Katie Fforde that she would keep me entertained with her little collection.

There are 12 different short stories in this e-book all featuring very different storylines and a wonderful mix of characters. The book is bursting with romance and new friendships as well as lots of mouth-watering food and festivity! 

There really will be a story for everyone in this collection, some are shorter than others but each are an enjoyable little treat. I did have to laugh at myself though because my favourite in this collection is From Scotland with Love but I thought myself very clever as I knew what was going to happen next and no not because it was totally predictable but because I had already read this novella last year and completely forgot the title but it was a great chance to read again!

The whole collection is very cheery and uplifting which is the kind of books I enjoy this time of year, yes some of them are farfetched and predictable but that really doesn’t ruin these stories as it is this time of year when the magic happens!

My favourite part of this e-book though is the sneak peek at the end of the authors coming novel A Vintage Wedding the three ladies Lindy, Beth and Rachel all look like they are forming a beautiful friendship and have a challenge ahead, I cannot wait for the release of this book.


This was a great collection of stories which kept me entertained on my lunch breaks over the last couple of days!


Kindle

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Hello From the Gillespies by Monica McInerney


For the last thirty years, Angela Gillespie's annual Christmas letter has been full of her family's triumphs. But this year Angela surprises everyone, including herself - she tells the truth. Angela's husband is in the throes of a mid-life crisis. Her grown-up daughters are more out of control than ever. And her youngest child spends all of his time talking to an imaginary friend. With fantasy thoughts of a life before marriage and motherhood becoming more than just an innocent daydream, Angela's real life is slowly slipping out of focus. But, as the repercussions of her ruthlessly honest letter begin to pile up, a shocking event takes Angela from her family, and she realises she should have been more careful of what she wished for. . .


I seem to be like a magpie at this time of year and any books that are shiny I am drawn to and Hello From the Gillespies is no exception with its gentle sprinkling of glitter on its simplistic cover, Monica McInerney is a new author to me but after reading this book I have looked on amazon to see she has wrote a number of books so after reading this one I cannot wait to get stuck into another one.

Each year Angela Gillespie writes a Christmas letter to a hundred friends and family members updating them on their achievements over the year but this year things haven’t been too good for the family in Angela’s eyes and as she has gradually let it all build up and get on top of her she soon finds herself baring the brutal truth in her annual letter to get it off of her chest having no intention on sending it. As an event makes Angela move away from her letter something happens and the letter is finding itself in everyone’s inbox, this letter could have a bad effect on more than Angela’s life.

This was a heart-warming and funny read which was a joy to read but it also touched on a number of more delicate matters such as depression which made it a deeper and more meaningful book. The author has quite clearly undertook a great deal of research for this book not only on the setting in the outback but also in the medical side to which I don’t want to say too much about as I don’t want to give anything away!

The Gillespie family were all loveable and such realistic characters who are all facing the usual struggles from relationships to financial problems and careers but there main problem is like most families they do not communicate, so much heartache could have been avoided if they had just spoke to one and other!

I loved how this book was totally unpredictable this storyline was, it was an original storyline that had me hooked from the first chapter. There was a large amount of characters in this book and it does take a little while to fit them altogether but before long you feel like part of the mob! I loved Angela as our lead character but I have to say little Ig was by far my favourite, he was such a quirky and loving character.


I loved this book and will definitely be recommending this one and I have found yet another talented author to add to my favourites list.



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Saturday, 6 December 2014

Christmas with Billy and Me by Giovanna Fletcher


Christmas has come to Rosefont Hill and it's destined to be a particularly special festive season for Sophie May.

When a smitten stranger emails Sophie to ask her if he can propose to the woman he loves in her little teashop, the romantic in her finds it impossible to refuse. Even though Christmas is her busiest time of year she has her own sweetheart, Hollywood actor Billy Buskin, to lend a helping hand. How could she say no to making someone's dream come true?

As Sophie and Billy work together to plan the perfect fairytale proposal for this couple, excitement in Rosefont Hill is mounting. Who is this mysterious man?
And who is the lucky lady he's about to get down on one knee for?


I have just met up with my old friends Billy and Sophie in Christmas with Billy and Me by Giovanna Fletcher! I was so moved by Billy and Me and I loved Billy and Sophie so I was longing for another book with these characters and this little treat doesn’t disappoint.

Sophie receives an anonymous email who wants to pop the big question to his partner but needs her help as it would be prefect to make his proposal in her much loved Teashop. As her and Billy begin to make the Teashop perfect and festive for the event her mind is trying to figure out who this surprise could be for.

This authors writing style has me hooked from the first page, she has a way of making the characters feel so familiar, it is like sitting down reading about friends. I do feel that you need to have read Billy and Me to appreciate this novella as it does make references about events  and also mentions the much loved Molly all which refers to the previous book but that’s not a bad thing because you wouldn’t want to miss out on a reason to read Billy and Me.


This is a prefect little Christmas treat for yourself, full of romance, an idyllic festive setting, a great little twist and a great cast of character too. As much as I loved this novella I am secretly hoping that there will be another full length novel and in my eyes the ending of this novella leaves a perfect starting point for another book so I am keeping my fingers crossed.




Kindle

Friday, 5 December 2014

Penguin Event.

Last Night I was lucky enough to be invited to Penguin Women's Fiction Evening, I have been looking forward to this event for a long time, I was going to meet up with the lovely Amanda but unfortunately she was poorly on the day and couldn't make it, I hope you feel better soon my little bookworm!

I was very nervous attending this event alone, I am sure you all know by now how nervous and anxious I get but I was so excited and luckily this over took the nerves and I am so pleased I did because it was such a wonderful evening with great company.




Lucy Robinson

Sinead Moriarty
I was star struck yet again as soon as I walked in with so many fabulous authors it was like Christmas not knowing what present to open first but instead which author to approach first!
I was firstly introduced to Dinah Jefferies who was a lovely lady with gorgeous sparkly red nails for the event she took the time to talk to myself and another reviewer answering our questions and talking to us about her up and coming release The Tea Planter's Wife which sounds like a great read.

We were then approached by the very bubbly Tina Seskis, I have yet to read her book One Step Too Far but this will be going to the top of my pile now as her new book When We Were Friends is due out in April and after seeing this authors enthusiasm for her book I can not wait to read it!

I was then introduced to the absolutely stunning Sinead Moriarty who was enjoying her night away in London and talking to us about her book The Secrets Sisters Keep which I was lucky enough to pick up a copy and I have to say the synopsis sounds intriguing.

I then managed to grab the lovely Lucy Robinson, I love this woman as much as her books and yes I do go all fangirl and start throwing question after question but mainly I needed to be reasured that after her telling off video from penguin ( is it wrong I am still chuckling away at this?)  I was hoping that this didnt mean that her new book The Day we Disappeared wasn't going to be too tame now as this is what sets Lucy Robinson aside from other authors it is her unique style and I was pleased to hear that she will not be disappointing us!
We got a proof copy of her new book and I have to say I felt like a thief walking home with a precious jewel!

Finally I met Kate Riordan author of The Girl in the Photograph who was such a sweet and friendly woman, she took the time to tell me about her book and I was surprised by the subject matter as I wasn't expecting that based on the cover I had seen but having seen the new cover it is definitely more appealing and fitting with the storyline, I can see that the new cover will be more eyecatching on the shelf. This sounds different from my usual reads so because my reading mojo has been hanging on an edge recently I am going to make this my next read keep your eyes peeled for the review.

There were so many other authors but there just wasn't enough time to get around to each of them which was a shame but I hope if I am ever luck enough to be invited to another Penguin event I may be able to catch up with them at another time.


Laura

Karen

As well as meeting all the wonderful authors it was also a great chance to meet other reviewers who I have spoken to over the years and it was lovely to put faces to names. I met the lovely Laura and Zarina who looked as excited as I felt!
I also met Bronagh who was such a sweetie and showed much more restraint than me!
My little angel of the night was Karen like myself Karen didn't know anyone else and I just want to say a BIG thank you to Karen for holding my hand so I couldn't chicken out! 
It was a pleasure to meet you all ladies.



My Christmas has well and truly come early!
Thank you so much to the team at Penguin for all of these
fabulous books I can not wait to get started already.
You hosted an amazing evening which will be a night to remember, 
it is most definitely a big highlight of my year.
You were all so welcoming and I am honoured to have been invited
and to finally get a chance to meet you all.
So a great BIG THANK YOU to you all for a night to remember.




Tuesday, 25 November 2014

A Christmas to Remember by Jenny Hale

Carrie Blake loves her job as a nanny but, while her friends are settling down, all of Carrie’s spare time is spent with other people’s families. Though it breaks her heart, her New Year’s resolution is to embark on a new career and fix her love life.

As Carrie starts her last job, she’s sure she’ll be going out on a high – the house is amazing, the kids are adorable, and she’s in charge of decorating the tree! The only problem could be her boss… single-dad, Adam Fletcher might be both handsome and successful, but he’s always working. Doesn’t he realise he’s missing out on precious moments with his son and daughter?

As Adam’s family arrive for Christmas including his sensitive sister, Sharon, and his fun-loving elderly Grandpa, Walter, Carrie realises that she might just have found the perfect allies in her quest to persuade Adam to loosen up. There’s still time for Carrie to make this the best Christmas ever… after all, Christmas is the time for miracles, isn’t it?
Let the festivities begin!


I loved Love Me for Me by Jenny Hale so when I see the cover release of her new book A Christmas to Remember I couldn't wait to read another book by this author and knowing it was a Christmas read just appealed to me even more.

Carrie has been working as a nanny for a long time now and she loves her job, she is very good at it too but she feels as though it is time to start making a life and family of her own so she decided that this new job has to be her last as a full time live in nanny. When she arrives at the new job and meets the Fletcher family it soon becomes clear that her last job is going to be an emotional challenging one.

As much as I enjoyed Love Me For Me I have to say that A Christmas to Remember is in a completely different league. I found myself wrapped up in this storyline right from the first meeting of the Fletcher twins and I just couldn't stop reading so I finished this in one sitting. This is one of those few books where you can't help but love each and every one of the characters and even though the handsome Adam had his flaws you still can't help but love him. Carrie was such a fun, caring and down to earth character and she brought a ray of light to the children's lives as she let them be children again.

This book was predictable but it is one of those books where it's not about the ending it is about the journey and this journey was a joy to read. I loved the festive fell to it, it is nice to have a book with a Christmas cover and title that is full of festivity and excited children which really gave it an exciting and traditional feel. The storyline was actually quite realistic and it is heartbreaking to think that there are situations like this out in the real world I just hope they get someone like Carrie to teach them to love!

This was a wonderful read and I loved each and every chapter, I would definitely recommend this book and I can not wait to read another book by this author.


Kindle                     Paperback

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Christmas for One by Amanda Prowse



As a child, Meg always dreamed of the perfect Christmas... This year, she can make it come true for her own little boy. There will be turkey and all the trimmings, a glittering tree, and a stocking hung up by a roaring fire. Who cares if there's no devoted husband in the picture? She and Lucas will be just fine on their own. But then a chance meeting with a stranger in New York unravels everything she's planned. Will Meg finally get everything she wished for? Or will she be alone this Christmas after all?

I have never come across the author Amanda Prowse before but when I saw the cover for her new book Christmas for One it really caught my eye and the title hit a nerve for me because you never expect anyone to have a Christmas for one so I really wanted to read this book.

The storyline is predominantly about single mum Meg and her son Lucas. Meg never had traditional and happy memorable Christmases when she was growing up so she is determined to give her son a better life and happy memories especially not having a dad around. But when Meg has to fly abroad before Christmas for work a chance meeting with a stranger in New York changes  Meg's life.

I was so eager to read this book that I didn't realise that this is a follow on but I still found my way along with the storyline easy enough as a standalone book although now having got to know our main character Meg  and her adorable boy Lucas I would love to go back and read the previous book so I can get to know their background more. This was one of those books for me that I have found really hard to review because I did really enjoy the storyline and the characters, the author also has such an easy flowing writing style so it is a nice read but I don't think this one will be one that I will remember much about in a few weeks time because it really was such a light and easy read. I don't feel like this is a bad thing though as sometimes it is quite nice to read something light and not challenging so if you are in the mood for a book like that then this won't disappoint.

This is a modern day romance that will have you full of hope for poor Meg as she has had such a difficult life you just want to see a happy ending for her. Lucas was a great little character I would have loved to have see a bit more of him in the book. I did find it a bit hard to grasp that a woman whose childhood of Christmases were not good and often abandoned by her family would then find herself able to not spend Christmas Day with her own little boy but I think this is where the modern day love story part comes in love does crazy things to us!

A light easy read with a sprinkling of festivity and nice dash of romance.




Kindle                     Paperback
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