Saturday, 26 July 2014

The No-Kids Club by Talli Roland

At almost forty, Clare Donoghue is living child-free and loving it. Then her boyfriend says he wants kids, breaking off their promising relationship. And it’s not just boyfriends: one by one, her formerly carefree friends are swallowed up in a nonstop cycle of play dates and baby groups. So Clare decides it’s time for people who don’t have children to band together. And so the No-Kids Club is born.

As the group comes together—Anna, who’s seeking something to jumpstart a stale marriage, and Poppy, desperate for a family but unable to conceive—Clare’s hoping to make the most of the childless life with her new friends.

Will the No-Kids Club be Clare’s route to happiness, or will the single life lose its sparkle?

I have read all of Talli Roland's books and it has been great to watch the authors writing style grow through each one of her books. The No Kids Club is the first book by this author where the subject of the book I could really relate to as all of my friends have children ( or are pregnant ) and I feel as though I am in a world surrounded but baby and children talk so I was sure I was going to enjoy this one.

The main character is Clare who is a single, career focused woman who has no ticking biological clock and with her best friend now entering the world of motherhood she decides it is time to make some new friends who feel the same as her and just want a night out without the main topic of conversation turning to children and so she decides to start a No Kids Club where she ends up meeting Poppy who actually does want children but it hasn’t happened for her so she is in need of some child free friends and also Anna who doesn’t want children but needs to have a social life outside of her marriage that seems to be going down the pan.

This was definitely my favourite book by Talli and her writing is definitely at its best in this book. The storyline flowed effortlessly and having a mix of emotions as well as a touch of light hearted humour meant the book was an entertaining read that has something for everyone. It is not often that I come across a character who like myself doesn’t have a maternal gene and so it was a nice change to have a character who doesn’t want children. Don’t worry all you baby lovers as this book is for both those for and against children so don’t let the title put you off.

It seems to be as soon as you reach the 30’s you are meant to want to have children and so it is nice to see the different reasons why the characters want to be in the No Kids Club which obviously then means there are some emotional issues covered and they are written about very delicately.

I was a little disappointed by the ending of the book but then that is because I was hoping it would end a different way but that is just my personal opinion.

I would definitely recommend this book it is a quick read that kept me entertained.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The Summer Guest by Emma Hannigan

A little magic is about to come to sleepy Caracove Bay... Lexie and her husband Sam have spent years lovingly restoring No. 3 Cashel Square to its former glory. So imagine Lexie's delight when a stranger knocks on the door, asking to see the house she was born in over sixty years ago. Kathleen is visiting from America, longing to see her childhood home... and longing for distraction from the grief of losing her husband. And as Lexie and Sam battle over whether or not to have a baby and Kathleen struggles with her loss, the two women realise their unexpected friendship will touch them in ways neither could have imagined. In Caracove, there's more than a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

I have been in a reading slump for over a month now, no matter what book I was picking up I would read a chapter or so and then give up. I had The Summer Guest by Emma Hannigan come through the post this weekend and decided to give it a try as I loved the fresh Summery look to the cover and I know this authors books are usually cosy reads focusing on family and friendships so I was hoping this would get me out of my slump.

Lexie and Rob have a wonderful content life together. They have restored their home in Caracove Bay much to Lexie’s joy, when one day a letter arrives through their door from a lady called Kathleen who used to live in their house when she was younger and now that she is back for the Summer she was hoping to take a look at the house.
Kathleen is leaving America to return to Caracove Bay for the Summer for a trip down memory lane that her beloved husband booked for her.
With both women facing a difficult time ahead they soon form a great friendship and are a shoulder to lean on for each other.
This book has definitely got my reading mojo back! It was so strange that three of the characters Lexie, Rea and Dee had the same names as my sister, mum and I so it was quite strange reading this book! The characters were all such a great fun and loving bunch even if poor Lexie’s mum was rather pushy but her heart was in the right place!

Now I am going to have to do my first ever spoiler alert here because something that I loved about the book, I know after a discussion last week about characters who do not want children there are readers who get disappointed about the outcome so if this is you then read the spoiler if not then go down to the read again!! 

I could really relate to Lexie which I think was another reason why I enjoyed the book so much. I have read so many books where a woman isn’t maternal and doesn’t want children but by the end of the book it is happy ever after and the woman has suddenly decided she now wants kids so it was great to read a book where the character actually sticks to her guns as not every woman does feel the need to have children.

The storyline flows at such a gentle pace and yet there is never a dull moment there is always something going on so you can’t lose interest in this book but the one thing that really got me I was quite happy strolling along in such a lovely storyline then BAM there was a shock revelation that I really didn’t see coming! I gasped and my husband actually jumped up as he thought something was wrong!

There was a lot of emotion in this book so it was quite sad but at the same time it was quite uplifting seeing the characters building friendships and taking a trek down memory lane as well as helping each other through trying times.

I loved this book and I am so pleased that it got me out of my reading slump, I will definitely be recommending this book especially to any Cathy Kelly or Maeve Binchy fans.

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Monday, 21 July 2014

To Have and to Hold by Helen Chandler

From the outside, Ella has the happy marriage, the cute kids and the comfortable home - inside, she craves something more. But giving in to temptation will stir up a whole heap of trouble . . . Imogen's relationship with Pete was once fun and carefree but since they've become parents, everything is different. Then an accident provides the catalyst for a life-changing decision. Fifteen-year-old Phoebe is miserable at home and at school. And now her dad, who was always her ally, seems completely distracted by something - or someone. Maybe it's time Phoebe took a stand, and took control of her own life. As Ella, Imogen and Phoebe contemplate taking the biggest risk of their lives, marriages, families and friendships hang in the balance. Should they take the leap, or will they risk losing everything?

To Have and to Hold follows the story of three girls who are all at a low and depressing point in their lives. Ella seems to have a loving husband and idyllic family set up but she still feels as though something is missing. Her friend Imogen is in a relationship with Pete but their relationship is hanging on by a thread , Imogen clearly doesn't love him anymore but feels she should stay for their daughters sake. Then there is Phoebe who is coming up to her important exams but her world is a constant battle ground, bullied at school about her weight and when she comes home the battle continues with her mum.

I loved both Imogen and Phoebe, their characters were very different but yet their problems both need them to be strong, make a choice and make a big change for their lives. I felt I could relate to Phoebe the most so I looked forward to her parts in the book the most.
I really didn't like Ella which is the first time in a long time that I haven't liked a main character. I couldn't relate to her and also I couldn't believe her flippant actions. This aside I still thoroughly enjoyed this book, the storyline managed to hold my attention the whole way through. There are a variety of day to day problems covered in this book from weight issues to adultery to name a few so the storyline was actually quiet believable.

I enjoyed this book and would recommend if your looking for a book with characters you can relate to and a realistic storyline with an easy writing style.

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Sunday, 20 July 2014

Love Under Different Skies by Nick Spalding

Sometimes, the hardest part of staying together is keeping a straight face... Ever wish you could leave all your problems behind and make a fresh start somewhere else? Trade the stresses and strains of everyday life for your own slice of sun-kissed paradise on the other side of the world? Jamie and Laura Newman certainly have. When Jamie's spectacular meltdown at work results in him being handed his P45, and Laura finds her working days end up with her rugby tackling defenceless pensioners in the high street, a move ten thousand miles away sounds ideal. After all, it might mend some of the cracks that have appeared in their marriage over the past few months... So when Laura is offered a new job in Australia, the Newman family think their dreams have come true. But as the old saying goes - be careful what you wish for, you might just get it. As the hapless couple soon find out, problems have a way of following you, no matter how far you go to avoid them. Can love survive under different skies?

I needed cheering up and wanted to start a new book and when I looked on my bookshelf I saw Love Under Different Skies by Nick Spalding and knew that I could count on this author to get me laughing!

We meet up with Jamie and Laura Newman again, things have continued to go wrong for the poor couple, and now Jaime has lost his job it is down to Laura to become the breadwinner and when she is offered a job in Australia they can’t afford to turn it down and after Jaime struggles to get work he hopes that a new start will be good for him and his marriage. Will there new life be all they hoped it would be in Australia?

This is one author I can guarantee will have me laughing out loud and reading this book was no exception. The authors witty humour is toeing so close to the line which I love and can honestly say the humour is not like any other book I have read. The way in which the story is told is via Laura’s diary to her dead mother and Jaime’s view on his blog, so we get a first-hand account from both of our main characters. It almost feels as though it is a bloke in a pub telling us his story as it is actually quiet believable and the way it is told feels like we are just having a general chat!

There are no low points to this book, every page is entertaining and eventful and just when you think things cannot possibly get any worse for this couple something else just pops up. I still remember the “pedal bin moment” from the first book and I still find myself chuckling away and I think the poo situation in this book will stay with me too.

There are literally no negative points that can be said about this book it is fun and witty and you will easily finish this book in a day as it is impossible to put down as you can’t stop laughing. I can see the author making another book about the Newman family, Poppy is starting to get a funny side to her character too so I think there could be more in store for this family and I know I will be first in line waiting to pick up my copy.

If you are looking for a laugh out loud read that will have you gripped from start to finish then make this your next read.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

The Beach Hut Next Door by Veronica Henry

Summer appeared from nowhere that year in Everdene . . . and for those lucky enough to own one of the beach huts, this was the summer of their dreams. For Elodie, returning to Everdene means re-awakening the memories of one summer fifty years ago. A summer when everything changed. Vince and his brother are struggling to come to terms with the death of their father - but they have very different ways of coping. And for Jenna, determined to put the past behind her, the opportunity to become 'the ice cream girl' once again might just turn her life around. But this summer is not all sunshine and surf - as secrets unfold, and some lives are changed for ever . . .

I have heard many positive reviews about Veronica Henry's books but I have never got around to picking one up so I made sure to download one to take away with me to read on holiday and The Beach Hut Next Door sounded like a perfect beach read.

Everdene is the place to be this Summer as holiday makers descend to their beach huts but it isn't all fun in the sun for everyone, Jenna is trying to turn her life around if only the bank would giver her a chance. Elodie finds herself returning to her childhood home and all the memories come flooding back. Then there are brothers Vince and Chris who are running the family business as well as grieving in different ways for their father.

The setting is so detailed it is easy to imagine yourself sitting among the characters in this book. There are a vast amount of characters in this book Jenna, Elodie and Vince have the stronger more indepth storylines and it was these three characters who really captured my attention and whilst it was a nice touch to have a few smaller storylines with different characters weaved in around these characters I did find it strange half way through being introduced to yet more characters with their own storylines. Personally I really don't think we needed all of these extra characters as the three main characters had such interesting and enjoyable storylines that there were no need to add these extras it was enjoyable enough without them. I constantly found myself eager to get back to one of our three main characters!

I enjoyed the mix of the  modern feel as well as the memoir's too I was especially intrigued by Elodie's story as it was unpredictable.

This was an enjoyable read full of hope, determination, romance as well as heartbreak and secrets. I enjoyed this book and will definitely be reading more books by this author.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Cafe Tropicana by Belinda Jones

Latte-lover Ava Langston knows exactly what she wants: her very own café in a vintage arcade in Bath and a life free of complicated relationships. But her plans go awry when her long-distance dad phones insisting she hop on the next plane to Costa Rica to meet his brand new wife.
Ava has no intention of jetting to Latin America to acquire a step-mother - until, that is, her father offers her head honcho status at a beachfront café. The lure of frothing cappuccinos in a land where the coffee beans grow proves irresistible.
But she hasn't planned on Santiago, her sexy-yet-stubborn business rival, or rugged Ryan whose idea of romance is swinging through the rainforest canopy at 6am.
Both men have the heartbreaker gene, but could one prove to be her very own star-crossed lover?
There's only one way to find out...

A holiday is never complete for me unless I have a Belinda Jones book to keep me entertained, having already read the authors recent release I decided to pick up one of her older books Cafe Tropicana.

Ava Langston has dreamed of opening her own cafe and she has finally found the perfect site. She puts her life on hold for this cafe giving up her job putting all her time and effort into her dream.
Her dream is shattered when a higher bidder comes in for the site. She then receives a call from her dad who wants her to fly out to him in Costa Rica to meet his new wife. Ava is reluctant to go especially since her father never has much to do with her  but when he then offers her the chance to help him open a coffee shop there she is soon jetting off to start her adventure!

What a great beach read this was, it was so easy to visualise the gorgeous setting in this book thanks to the authors impeccable descriptive writing style. Even the preparations for the cafe were all described in such detail so I really felt like I was there watching everything coming together. There was a  lot of humor in this book too along with a nice splash of romance.

Ava was a down to earth, determined main character who I loved from the first chapter. The handsome Santiago oozed sex appeal through the pages, he was a true gentleman who I wouldn't mind spending my holiday with! Kiki and Ryan both set alarm bells ringing for me from the moment we were introduced to them so I was wary of these two characters all the way through.

As with all of Belinda Jones books it is clear the author has done a lot of research for this book not only on the location but also surrounding coffee beans and blends as well as the nature side too, for me the turtle nesting really showed this and it is now something I would like to experience.

Belinda Jones has delivered another perfect enjoyable and adventurous read that I will be recommending to friends.

Monday, 14 July 2014

The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh

Each summer, Jenn and her husband Greg return to Deia, on Mallorca's dramatic west coast. This year the arrival of Emma, Jenn's stepdaughter, and her new boyfriend Nathan threatens to upset their equilibrium. Beautiful and reckless, Nathan stirs something unexpected in Jenn. As she is increasingly seduced by Nathan's youth and the promise of passion, the line between desire and obsession begins to blur. What follows is a highly-charged liaison that puts lives and relationships in jeopardy. For Jenn, after this summer, nothing can ever be the same.

After the hype around The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh I was so intrigued, I had to get my hands on a copy. The book is only 275 pages long so is an ideal quick read for your Summer reading and the cover is just screaming holiday read.

Jenn and husband Greg are holidaying in the picturesque Deia in Mallorca, Jenn is soaking up the sun and enjoying the tranquil surroundings that is before her stepdaughter is due to fly out with her new boyfriend Nathan to join them. Jenn soon finds herself being seduced by the gorgeous, youthful Nathan, this sure isn’t going to be a holiday she will forget.

I was completely shocked by this book it was not what I was expecting at all! I thought it was going to be a light romantic holiday read with an enjoyable storyline that would transport me to an idyllic destination, well the only thing that was correct in my thinking was the idyllic setting! The setting of the book is described really well and I could visualise the setting it did sound like a perfect holiday destination. The storyline took me quite by surprise and if I am truthful I would say I am a little confused with my thoughts about this book. The authors writing style is great but the actual storyline just seemed wrong and I felt a little uncomfortable reading it not because of the saucy and steamy sex scenes but because of who the sex was with I think this was a very risky subject to attempt and I am not sure this will win everyone over but having said that I must be one of a minority that think that as there are so many 5* reviews. It was unusual to have characters that I didn’t warm to but that was because all of the characters were flawed and I have to say Emma was such a spoilt brat!

I did finish this book because I enjoyed the easy flow of the authors writing and because I was intrigued to see how the book ended but I wouldn’t say that this is a book that I would read again or that I would rush to recommend.

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