Tuesday, 17 January 2017

The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters by Nadiya Hussain

The four Amir sisters – Fatima, Farah, Bubblee and Mae – are the only young Muslims in the quaint English village of Wyvernage.

On the outside, despite not quite fitting in with their neighbours, the Amirs are happy. But on the inside, each sister is secretly struggling. 

Fatima is trying to find out who she really is – and after fifteen attempts, finally pass her driving test. Farah is happy being a wife but longs to be a mother. Bubblee is determined to be an artist in London, away from family tradition, and Mae is coping with burgeoning Youtube stardom. 

Yet when family tragedy strikes, it brings the Amir sisters closer together and forces them to learn more about life, love, faith and each other than they ever thought possible.

The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters is the debut novel by Nadiya Hussain. With an eye-catching colourful cover this book is sure to grab reader’s attention as it certainly caught my eye.

The storyline follows the four Amir Sisters and each chapter alternates between each sisters points of view. At the heart of the storyline we see the family all come together as one of the sister’s husband Mustafa is involved in a car accident leaving him fighting for his life in hospital. With tensions running high relationships between the sisters are strained and secrets are soon revealed but can this family pull together in their time of need?

This was a light easy read that gave us a little cultural insight which I loved. Each of the sisters were well developed and were easy to differentiate between and they each brought a little something to the storyline. Personally Fatti was my favourite character and I would have liked to have read more of her story in detail especially with her time in Bangladesh.

I did enjoy this book but I personally didn’t find enough depth to the storyline especially in the first half of the book, I was waiting for the storyline to take off but it never quite went anywhere.  If you are looking for a light read then this book will suit but I don’t feel that it is a book that will leave a lasting impression.

I feel that this is a good debut and I am interested to see how the authors writing develops in her next book I would love to see her descriptive writing develop to really bring things to life.

Hardback                 Kindle

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay by Jill Mansell

Love is in the air in St Carys, but you'd never know it - the people of this seaside town are very good at keeping secrets... 

The man Clemency loves belongs to someone else. She has to hide her true feelings - but when she ropes in an unsuspecting friend to help, wires start to get crossed. 

For the first time in Ronan's life his charm has failed him in winning over the woman he wants. Loving her from afar appears to be his only option. 

Belle seems to have the perfect boyfriend, but something isn't quite right. And now a long-buried secret is slowly rising to the surface. The truth has a funny way of revealing itself, and when it does St Carys will be a very different place indeed...

The start of the year always means a new Jill Mansell book for me and this year we have Meet me at Beachcomber Bay which has got the reading off to a great start for 2017.

When Clemency and Sam meet on a flight they have a great connection and Clemency hopes that she will get to see him again but when she gives him her number he throws it in the bin, turns out his married!
Three years later when her sister Bella comes to introduce the new man in her life Clemency gets quite the shock.

This is definitely my favourite book by Jill Mansell, from the minute I picked this book up I couldn’t put it down. There is a large group of characters in this book all whom I grew to love quickly other than Bella who is like a spoilt little princess. Considering the amount of characters there were they were all really well developed and there was no confusion as to who was who and each character brought something to the storyline.

The author threw a couple of surprises my way later in the novel which I had no idea were about to be revealed which was great as I love a book that has little unexpected twists and surprises.

Although this was a great light read which I have come to know and love with this authors books this book felt like it had a little more depth to the storyline thanks to a number of issues that were weaved into the storyline and dealt with in an informative but delicate matter and yet the book still had a wonderfully uplifting and heart-warming feel that brought a smile to my face.

Top marks from me on this one, these are characters that I will think about for sometime yet and it is a book I knw I will revisit in the future and I really hope Jill Mansell revisits these characters again too.

Hardback                 Kindle

Friday, 30 December 2016

The Year of Saying Yes by Hannah Doyle

Dear Readers
It's drizzling outside, which totally matches my #currentmood. Pigs in blankets, all the mince pies and a festive Baileys or five are distant memories. You know the drill - it's January. Everyone's banning booze (terrible idea) or cutting carbs (impossible). To add to the misery pile, my plans to seduce the man of my dreams at the stroke of midnight flopped spectacularly. 
I'm Izzy. I don't just need a New Year resolution, I need a whole new life. And I need YOU. My dreary life is about to get a total makeover - it's my 'Year of Saying Yes'. And this is where you come in. It's up to you to #DareIzzy. I'm saying yes to your challenges, no matter how nuts, adventurous or wild they are. The sky's the limit - I'm at your mercy, readers! 
Wish me luck. I have a feeling I'm going to need it. 
Izzy x  

I found myself only one book away from meeting my yearly goodreads target and I knew I wouldn't have time to finish a full length novel so on a whim I took to Amazon to see if I could find a short story and I came across Part 1 of The Year of Saying Yes by Hannah Doyle which sounded like the perfect read as we approach the New Year.

Like many of us Izzy finds herself each year writing down her New Years resolutions only to find that she has failed by the end of January, why do we put so much pressure on ourselves? In a turn of events Izzy gets the opportunity of a life time to give her career the big boost it needs by having a feature piece once a month in Pulse Magazine but she has to complete a dare each month but this can only be a good thing right?

I haven't enjoyed a book like this in a long time and I was actually so bummed when I reached the end as I was desperate to see what Izzy had to do for her next months dare but I shall have to be patient as Part 2 is not due for release until 12th January. Author Hannah Doyle has such a wonderful flow to her writing that pulls you in and keeps you entertained the whole way through thanks to her witty writing style and a main character who you love from the opening chapter. Anyone who is a fan of Lindsey Kelk and Jane Costello's earlier books will love The Year of Saying Yes as it had the same witty adventurous and modern feel to it. All the supporting characters we have met so far have
all been great and the relationships between Izzy and her friends and co workers are all so believable and they bring support to Izzy as she begins to step out of her comfort zone and her routines. 

This is the perfect read for this time of year with the topic of New Years resolutions being thrown around and with the January blues about to creep up on us all I am looking forward to Part 2 to lift my spirits in January. I have never really enjoyed books that are released in parts but I am really excited by this book. Role on 2017!

Part 1 is currently FREE so enjoy this guilt free treat.

Friday, 23 December 2016

The Love of a Lifetime by Melissa Hill

Hollywood movies are Beth's passion. She hopes her life will always be filled with 'movie moments', where things like serendipity and fate happen every day. Her boyfriend Danny has always been the embodiment of her perfect Hollywood hero - though after seven years together the initial silver-screen romance has settled into something more predictable. 

And then, one morning at work, Beth receives an anonymous delivery of a take-out coffee cup with a cryptic message suggesting a meeting at Tiffany's. From there, she is given a series of clues directing her to some of NYC's most popular landmarks - a treasure hunt using unique rom-com-related prompts perfect for a movie-lover like Beth to decipher. And Beth is forced to wonder: has Danny realised their relationship needs a boost - or could it be that charming new work colleague Ryan, with his intense gaze, flirtatious smile and almost encyclopaedic movie knowledge, wants to sweep her off her feet? And how would she feel about taking a chance on a new leading man in her life?

It has been a while since I have read a book by Melissa Hill so I was looking forward to delving in to her latest release The Love of a Lifetime. The storyline is an entertaining romance that has us running around on a treasure hunt with our main character Beth who is a self confessed classic movie addict and each clue she finds on her hunt is related to a classic movie set in New York but as exciting as this mysterious hunt is Beth doesn't know who it is who has gone to a lot of trouble to set up this fabulous adventure but one thing she is certain is that her life is about to change.

Beth was one of those characters who you instantly warm to, she was such a soft soul and so caring and I enjoyed watching her journey on her mysterious hunt you could feel her excitement through the pages. Personally I am not a film buff and shamefully have never watched any of the films that were mentioned so I couldn't "play" along in trying to solve the clues but I am sure many readers who have watched the films will find this book even more enjoyable than I did as they will be trying to solve the clues before Beth.

The supporting characters from Beth's partner Danny and her best friend Jodi, to their handsome work colleague Ryan all played great roles in this book. Although I did guess early on who put the treasure hunt in place this didn't lessen my enjoyment of the book. I loved the setting in New York and also the unexpected little festive touch that was sprinkled in.

This was the perfect easy read full of romance for my commute in the mornings this week and I know that if you are a romance fan who is also a major film buff then this book will tick all the boxes for you.

Paperback               Kindle

Friday, 16 December 2016

The Food of Love by Amanda Prowse

Today it is my stop on the blog tour for The Food of Love which is Amanda Prowse new release that everyone is currently talking about, I am thrilled to be sharing my review with you all today.


Freya Braithwaite knows she is lucky. Nineteen years of marriage to a man who still warms her soul and two beautiful teenage daughters to show for it: confident Charlotte and thoughtful Lexi. Her home is filled with love and laughter. But when Lexi’s struggles with weight take control of her life, everything Freya once took for granted falls apart, leaving the whole family with a sense of helplessness that can only be confronted with understanding, unity and, above all, love. In this compelling and heart-wrenching new work by bestselling author Amanda Prowse, one ordinary family tackles unexpected difficulties and discovers that love can find its way through life’s darkest moments.

Amanda Prowse is back with another poignant read that will pull at the heart strings and stay on your mind long after you finish reading it. The Food of Love is the first book I have read that explores Anorexia in such depth. 

The storyline follows the Braithwaite family as they are thrown into a worldthey know nothing about when Anorexia rears its ugly head. When mum Freya receives a phone call from her daughters school because they are worried about Lexi’s weight Freya just assumes it is a blip that most teenagers go through but this couldn’t have been further from the truth. Freya and husband Lockie are powerless to deal with Lexi’s illness and before long it starts to impact sister Charlotte too.

We get to see how Anorexia effects not only the sufferer but also the impact it has on those close to them, putting them in an impossible position and having to make such heart-breaking decisions as parents who want to do whatever they can to protect their children but also wanting to give the children what they want but this isn’t always for the best.

I thought I had quite a lot of knowledge on this condition but the way the author delivers in such detail how Lexi actually felt about food was an eye-opener for me and it is heart breaking to think there are so many people in real life who are going through this thought process daily.

I found myself riding a tide of emotions whilst reading this book sometimes feeling really sorry for certain characters other times just pure frustration and at one point disbelief at Freya who I understand wanted to do all she could to as a mum to protect her little girl but some of her actions I couldn’t understand.

Amanda Prowse has obviously done a lot of in-depth research on Anorexia this clearly shines through in this book and it is a great thing that this book will raise awareness for an illness that is quite often misunderstood.

Paperback             Kindle

Thursday, 1 December 2016

All I ever Wanted by Lucy Dillon

Caitlin's life is a mess. Her marriage to a man everyone else thinks is perfect has collapsed, along with her self-esteem, and breaking free seems the only option. 
Nancy, her four-year-old daughter, used to talk all the time; in the car, at nursery, to her brother Joel. Then her parents split up. Her daddy moves out. And Nancy stops speaking. 

Nancy's Auntie Eva, recently widowed and feeling alone, apart from the companionship of two bewildered pugs, is facing a future without her husband or the dreams she gave up for him. 
But when Eva agrees to host her niece and nephew once a fortnight, Caitlin and Eva are made to face the different truths about their marriages - and about what they both really want ...

I always look forward to a new book by Lucy Dillon and her covers are always so enticing and the cover of All I Ever Wanted is no exception, this will call out to you from the shelves.

When Patrick accepts a job transfer it sparks the end of his marriage to Caitlin. With two beautiful children at the heart of the separation cracks start to form. Nancy was once a chatty little girl who would sing and dance until her hearts content but now Nancy doesn’t speak and big brother Joel steps up to try and communicate for her but will Nancy ever find her voice?

This is one of those books that will tug at the heart strings and have you wanting to reach into the pages and pull Nancy out for a big hug. Both Nancy and Joel were adorable characters who I found extremely engaging. Joel provided a touch of humour and also was quite admirable in looking after his little sister, without her talking he knew her well enough to tell others what she wanted. My heart went out to Nancy and I longed for her to feel safe enough to talk again.

As well as getting to know the children we see Caitlin and Patrick attempt to deal with their separation as well as meeting Patrick’s sister Eva who has her own story weaved around the main plot that all ties in beautifully.

I was surprised how my opinion on both Caitlin and Patrick altered throughout the book at the start I felt for one and disliked the other and as the storyline moved along and certain events happened I found that I switched “sides” until at the end I just wanted to bang them both together and tell them to grow up!

This is a subject that many people will relate to from either the children’s or the parent’s perspective and this makes it feel all too real and that’s why I am sure Nancy will capture everyone’s hearts. I thoroughly enjoyed reading All I Ever Wanted and I found it hard to put down, this is another wonderfully written book that will tug at the heart strings.

Paperback              Kindle

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

It's All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot

I had come across Ruby Elliot on Twitter (@Rubyetc ) with some of her drawings so when her publishers asked if I would like a copy of her new book called It’s all Absolutely Fine I jumped at the chance as it was something completely different to what I usually read and was rather intrigued.

It is no secret that I battle with anxiety and depression and sometimes it is so hard to put in to words how you are feeling to someone who has been lucky enough never to have suffered but what Ruby has managed to do is draw pictures that shout a thousand words making it understandable to those who don’t understand and also making them incredibly relatable to those who have found themselves going through the dark times.

Ruby has managed to take the topic of mental health and sprinkle some humour to make it a lighter read. There was one particular picture that showed how yes you can acknowledge all the things that you have achieved but instead lets focus on that tiny little thing that I messed up and this is something that I do constantly and when I looked at the picture I could whole heartedly relate to it but looking on the outside in it just seemed so stupid and funny but obviously when that is the mindset you are in it there is no humour there.

Some of the bits in the book was a little too far out there for me but all in all I enjoyed this book because it tackles mental health awareness in an original way. I have seen many people complain about the drawings but personally I didn’t read it for the quality of the artwork for me it was more about what the drawings were portraying and so this book gets a thumbs up from me.



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